Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

Innocent plea entered in Big Dig tunnel death

September 6, 2007

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— An epoxy company blamed for a deadly ceiling collapse in one of Boston's Big Dig highway tunnels pleaded not guilty Wednesday to manslaughter.

Powers Fasteners Inc., based in Brewster, N.Y., was indicted last month in the July 2006 death of Milena Del Valle, who was crushed when 26 tons of concrete ceiling panels fell as she and her husband drove through a tunnel. Her husband suffered minor injuries.

More than a year of state and federal investigations focused on the epoxy that was used to hold the heavy ceiling panels in place. Prosecutors said Powers Fasteners knew the type of epoxy it sold for the tunnel project was unsuitable for the panels but never told project managers.

After the arraignment, company President Jeffrey Powers called the indictment "ridiculous" and "scandalous." He accused Attorney General Martha Coakley of using the family-owned business, which employs 240 people, in an attempt to persuade larger companies involved in the design and construction of the Big Dig to pay a multimillion-dollar civil settlement.

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