Operator in Philly collapse deaths in custody

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police say a heavy equipment operator who is accused of being high on marijuana when a downtown building collapsed onto a thrift store, killing six people, is in custody after surrendering to face charges in the deaths.

Authorities say Sean Benschop, who has a lengthy police record, surrendered Saturday. He faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe. A warrant had been issued for his arrest and police had been searching for him.

Authorities believe the 42-year-old Benschop had been using an excavator Wednesday when the remains of the four-story building under demolition gave way and toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.

Benschop’s attorney, Daine Grey, says the facts will show that his client is not responsible.

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