Construction Workers Sentenced in 2018 Workplace Death

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The owner and three employees of a Livermore-based construction company have each received a jail sentence for charges related to the death of another employee at a Daly City work site in 2018, San Mateo County prosecutors said Monday.

On July 27, 2018, employees of Platinum Pipeline Inc. were excavating a trench at a home development in Daly City when the trench collapsed and crushed another employee who was working below, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Due to a nearby power line that prevented workers from sloping the trench, one side of the trench was dug vertically. However, workers did not install shoring -- the process of bracing the walls to prevent collapse -- and the unprotected wall broke loose.

The victim was Abel Sauceda, 33, who left behind three young children and their mother.

Platinum employees David Allen Silva, 52, Joseph Silva, 51, and Eulogio PerazaParra, 45, were charged with a felony of causing death of an employee. David and Joseph Silva -- both foremen -- and PerazaParra -- a crew boss and excavator operator -- were present at the Daly City site when the collapse occurred. All three pleaded no contest to the felony and received a two-year probation sentence with 90 days in jail on Friday.

Platinum Pipeline's owner, Manuel de Freitas, 40, was not present at the time of collapse, but was on site earlier in the day, prosecutors said. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of causing an employee death and received a one-year probation term with a 90-day jail sentence.

The family of the victim received $1.2 million in restitution, according to the district attorney's office, with the majority covered by insurance.

Platinum Pipeline was unavailable for comment at the time of publishing.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the state's workplace safety agency, also cited the company $242,600 in 2019 for failing to protect its employees.

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