Construction worker, 19, killed by father in tragic construction mishap identified by police

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Police identify 19-year-old killed in construction accident
Police identify 19-year-old killed in tragic construction accident in the East Village.

EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 19-year-old construction worker was fatally struck by a mobile hydraulic lift Friday morning, police say.

The victim was directing his father, the cherry picker operator, through an intersection in the East Village shortly after 8:30 a.m., according to police.

The victim has been identified by police as Ommatt Cruz.

Tom Negovan has more on the investigation.

Cruz was attempting to guide his father onto a flatbed truck through the busy intersection at First Avenue and East 7th Street, police say.

Cruz was then apparently run over by the lift, operated by his father, eyewitnesses say.

Troy Lorenzo, a veteran construction worker, says he saw how it happened.

"Sometimes if you hit that gas pedal too hard, it's going to fly, and the kid was too close to the tire," Lorenzo said. "And it literally just, like, ran the kid over. It was horrible. People were screaming."

According to police, Cruz suffered severe trauma to his body and was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The father was a few steps away... holding his head, probably being in shock, not really believing what happened. It was horrible," Gosia Kaminska, an eyewitness said. "The people that were trying to save (his son) they covered him up with something. There was no way that you could help him."

Witnesses say they believe Cruz was trying to stop traffic in the busy intersection, rather than guide the cherry picker.

In 2021 there were 22 construction worker deaths in New York City, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Except for a dip during the pandemic, annual construction worker deaths in New York have stayed in the low to mid-20s, according to the latest available numbers. There were 13 deaths in 2020, 24 in 2019, 22 in 2018 and 20 in 2017.

The 42-year-old father is being questioned, police say.

"The father. They have to take care of him, it's not like he did it intentionally," witness Gosia Kaminska said. "They should focus on the father now just so he can get through. There's no way he will ever be the same."

No charges have been filed. No other injuries were reported.

The accident remains under investigation.

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