Mine manager pleads guilty to second-degree manslaughter

MSHA announced that an upstate New York court accepted a mine manager’s guilty plea to manslaughter in the second degree for the death of a mechanic at R J Valente Grafton Quarry in October 2022.

Anthony Valente admitted to causing Darren Miller’s death by recklessly disregarding and overriding safety features of a crane he was operating to lower a replacement engine into a haul truck. Miller was guiding the engine into place when the crane’s overhaul hook ball detached, crushing him.

MSHA found the crane tagged “out of service” during prior inspections, but the investigation into Miller’s death revealed that Valente operated the damaged crane without repairing it.

“Like every miner, Darren Miller had the right to go home at the end of the day, but Anthony Valente’s reckless actions denied him that opportunity,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “MSHA remains committed to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for miners, and will continue to use every tool available to us as we work with states to keep miners safe.”

Valente agreed to serve a six-month jail sentence and five years of probation. He is expected to report to jail on June 14.

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