Construction Worker Who Fell 53 Stories a Suicide: Coroner

Sad update for Joseph Sabbatino, who fell from LA's Wilshire Grand tower
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2016 2:02 PM CDT
Coroner: Worker Who Fell 53 Stories at Construction Site a Suicide
Passersby look up at the Wilshire Grand Tower, where a worker fell to his death on March 17, 2016.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled that a man who fell 53 stories to his death at the Wilshire Grand Center skyscraper construction site on St. Patrick's Day intentionally killed himself, the AP reports. The father of 36-year-old Joseph Sabbatino earlier told KABC-TV that his son struggled with depression and had been prescribed medication, and on Thursday, Coroner's Lt. David Smith confirmed the death was a suicide. It was only the second day on the job as an electrician for Sabbatino, who fell from the building and onto a moving car, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I moved over and then 'boom!' my car just shook," Donna Crockett, the driver of that car, told KTLA. "And I'm sitting there and I'm like, 'Oh God, somebody hit me.' ... When I opened up the door, his boot was lying next to my car." Crockett wasn't injured.

Turner Construction, which manages the site, says Sabbatino didn't have any reason to be above the third floor and that he had completed a "comprehensive safety orientation" the day before he died, per the Times. Witnesses say he had taken off his hard hat before falling and that he didn't have on a tethered safety harness. The 53rd level had a barricade to prevent falls, and the company issued a statement saying the incident was not work-related. The builder gave nearly 1,000 workers a day off after the incident. Crockett calls the experience "traumatic" and told KTLA her heart breaks for Sabbatino's family and that she hopes to one day give his wife a hug. (An obituary shared how painful depression was for one woman's sister.)

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