Contractor convicted in cave-in death WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

January 13, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A plumbing contractor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter yesterday in the 1991 death of a 21-year-old apprentice killed when a Crofton sewer trench collapsed on him.

The March 1991 death of Brian Para, of the 1700 block of Reading St. in Crofton, prompted a tightening of state laws regarding safety at construction sites.

Ronald Razzano, 41, of Bowie, was convicted as part of a plea agreement approved by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme.

Judge Thieme granted Razzano probation before judgment on condition that he pay a $500 fine, complete three years probation and perform 100 hours of community service. The last requirement includes speaking publicly to contractors about the accident.

Razzano was in charge of safety for the firm of Razzano and Fohner Inc., which hired Mr. Para to help dig sewer and water lines along Putnam Lane in Crofton Meadows in 1991.

Mr. Para was in a 12-foot trench at the site of the housing project about 11 a.m. March 19 when it collapsed and suffocated him.

Assistant State's Attorney Robert Bittman said the trench was being dug in violation of state safety standards requiring the pile of unearthed dirt to be 18 feet from the trench. The dirt was only 6 feet away, he said. He added that Razzano visited the work site every day to check on its progress and that all of his trenches were dug the same way.

After yesterday's court hearing, the victim's parents said no penalty or prison sentence would bring back their son, but they were gratified Razzano will have to speak publicly about the accident.

"Our hope is that this will send a message that these contractors have no right to exploit these young men and risk their lives, and if they do, they will be held responsible," said the victim's mother, Joan Para.

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