BOSTON, Feb. 13, 2017—An arraignment date has been scheduled in the case against the business owner and corporation charged in the deaths of 47-year-old Robert Higgins and 53-year-old Kelvin Mattocks, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
ATLANTIC DRAIN SERVICES, INC., and its owner and sole officer, KEVIN OTTO of Blackstone, are expected to appear Feb. 23 for arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court after a grand jury returned indictments on Wednesday charging each with two counts of manslaughter, one count of misleading an investigator under the state’s witness intimidation statute, and six counts of concealing a record under the evidence tampering statute.
According to prosecutors, Otto and Atlantic Drain Services acted wantonly and recklessly on Oct. 21, when they failed to comply with federal regulations that they knew required excavation sites deeper than five feet and adjacent utilities to be shored up in order to prevent a cave-in. Without this standard precaution, dirt inside the Dartmouth Street trench where Higgins and Mattocks were working gave way and a nearby fire hydrant collapsed into the hole, filling the trench with water and claiming the two workers’ lives, prosecutors said. During the investigation that followed, prosecutors allege, Otto and Atlantic Drain provided doctored records to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and concealed them entirely from the Suffolk County Special Grand Jury.
Assistant District Attorney Lynn Feigenbaum of the Conley’s Senior Trial Unit led the grand jury proceedings resulting in indictments against the defendants. Arraignment will take place in the Magistrate’s Session of Suffolk Superior Court.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.