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Victim’s Father Testifies In UES Crane Collapse Trial

Debris is scattered on the ground at the scene of a crane collapse on Manhattan's Upper East Side at 91st Street and 1st Avenue May 30, 2008 in New York. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Debris is scattered on the ground at the scene of a crane collapse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at 91st Street and 1st Avenue May 30, 2008 in New York. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A victim’s father testified on the second day of the trial in connection the deadly 2008 Upper East Side crane collapse.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell On The Case

A devastated Don Leo, a crane operator himself who had actually worked on this very crane a week earlier, told of first getting the word that the crane was down on East 91st Street.

To him, it meant only one thing. That was the crane his son Donald was operating.

The father, who was working a construction site near Bellevue Hospital, started running up 1st Avenue.

He hopped a cab, but traffic was terrible. So he jumped out and kept running.

When he got to 91st Street, they were still extricating his son from the cab and he thought his son was still alive.

As a former firefighter, he said, if someone is dead they would have covered him over and they hadn’t done that.

It gave him a few minutes of false hope, but in fact, his son, who had just returned from his bachelor party in Costa Rica, was dead, three weeks before his wedding date. The cause: a crushed skull.

The cab fell 140 feet before hitting the street.

A money-hungry construction crane owner’s decision to skimp on a vital repair job led to a collapse that killed two workers, a prosecutor said Tuesday as the owner went on trial in a manslaughter case he says is casting the 2008 accident as a crime.

“They were killed because of one man’s greed,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eli Cherkasky said in his opening statement in James Lomma’s trial, the only criminal trial stemming from the deadly collapse.