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Owner of construction company faces charges after teen dies in trench collapse

In July, Spencer Lunde, 16, died after a trench collapsed on him. Thomas Digges, owner of the company, was indicted Monday.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — The owner of Digges Development Corporation is facing charges after a 16-year-old died in a trench collapse in July, Fairfax County Police said.

Spencer Lunde, 16, died in after a trench collapsed on him at a construction site where he was working. Thomas Digges, owner of the company, was indicted Monday after evidence was presented to a grand jury, police said.

Diggs was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and cruelty and injuries to children. These charges were brought after an investigation by detectives who worked closely with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Occupational Safety and Health Program and Labor Employment Law, Youth Employment Section. 

Police said Digges turned himself in at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center Thursday morning. He was released on his own recognizance, police said.

Credit: Fairfax County Police
In July, Spencer Lunde, 16, died after a trench collapsed on him. Thomas Digges, owner of the company, was indicted Monday.

RELATED: Teen who died in McLean trench collapse may not have been old enough to work there

The site under construction in July at cul de sac on Solitaire Lane was a small housing development in its beginning stages of laying pipes, neighbors said in July. 

The general manager of another construction company, unrelated and not involved in the McLean site, said in July that it was a "preventable death." Daniel Rossi didn't know the specifics of the case at the time, but said a grave error was involved. 

Credit: Peggy Fox

"They did make a mistake," Rossi said. "There's no way this could've happened without somebody doing something wrong. And your pictures show that somebody did something wrong."

Rossi said the slope was 90 degrees straight down.

"Ninety degrees straight down," Rossi said. "Dangerous." 

He said state regulations require the sides of trenches more than five feet deep to be sloped.

"You cut the dirt back mostly at a 45 degree angle and that stops it from collapsing," Rossi said. "It's a sad thing but they didn't do it and that's what happens. People die as a result." 

RELATED: Trench collapse traps man in Howard County

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