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Lakewood Parking Garage Collapse Court Hearing

LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) — A construction company was arrested Thursday on charges related to a parking lot collapse in Lakewood last year.

A grand jury indicted Atlas Masonry Restoration and Maintenance, owner Elmer Mekker and foreman Charles Hawley last month. They are accused of having caused panic.

The December 23 collapse caused extensive damage to the Marine Towers West underground car park. Dozens of cars were crushed. No one was hurt. Damages are estimated at more than $1 million, prosecutors said. The defendants risk up to 36 months in prison.

The company was contracted to perform concrete repairs to the structure. The prosecutor’s office said Hawley and another employee removed concrete around some of the support pillars on the lower level of the garage, leaving only rebar. The structure began to shake less than 24 hours later, leading to the collapse.

“It is a miracle that the recklessness displayed, not only by Atlas Masonry but also by the owner and foreman in charge, did not result in serious injury or death,” prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a statement. communicated. “Their poor decisions put hundreds of lives at risk, and they must be held accountable.”

The construction company was also found guilty last month of failing to obtain a permit before working on the Lakewood municipal yard garage.

A plea of ​​not guilty has been entered on their behalf. They are due in court on June 21.

Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins