Massachusetts Prosecutors Seek Prison Sentence for Drain Company Owner

December 6, 2019

Massachusetts prosecutors asked a judge to sentence a drain company owner to seven to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the collapse and flooding of a trench that killed two workers.

Atlantic Drain Service owner Kevin Lee Otto, 45, was convicted in October of two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Kelvin Mattocks, 53, and Robert Higgins, 47.

The two workers were in a trench in Boston’s South End in October 2016 when a fire hydrant collapsed and flooded the 14-foot-deep trench with water. The two workers were submerged and drowned.

Prosecutors said Otto had a history of safety violations and should have installed cave-in protections known as trench boxes at the site.

Otto’s lawyer argued at trial that there was no proof that the lack of a trench box caused the hydrant to collapse.

At the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Otto’s attorney asked for probation or a suspended sentence.

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