Employer charged with manslaughter in worker’s death at Colorado construction site

Eli Pace
Sky-Hi News
Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez .

The employer of a man killed in a 2018 trench collapse at a Granby construction site has been charged with manslaughter.

Bryan D. Johnson faces a single count of manslaughter, a class 4 felony, in connection with the death of Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez, who was killed June 14, 2018, as he was working for Johnson’s company, ContractOne, which is based in Avon.

Martinez-Lopez was working inside a trench on a condominium project when the trench collapsed. Another worker had stepped away for a few minutes and came back to find the man buried.

“His absence leaves a huge gap in our family,” Victor Marquez, a family member, previously told the Sky-Hi News. “He was kind, funny, smart, hard-working and the sole provider for his family that lives in Mexico.”

According to a joint news release issued by the Granby Police Department and 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the workplace death was investigated by the Granby Police Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Evidence from those independent investigations was then submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, which decided to charge Johnson with manslaughter.

“The thorough investigative work of both the Granby Police Department and OSHA revealed facts supporting a criminal prosecution for this job site death,” District Attorney Matt Karzen said in the release. “Worksite safety regulations exist for a reason, and here, we are reminded just how important it is to for employers to adhere to those regulations.”

The release did not say what regulations might have been violated. Granby police referred all questions to the DA’s Office, which declined to offer any additional details at this time.

The release says the case will be handled by Grand County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kathryn L. Dowdell and 14th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Matthew J.W. Tjosvold.

A court date has not yet been scheduled.

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