Copper Lounge Building Collapse
Jerry Palleschi/Results Radio

The tragic collapse of a downtown Sioux Falls building in 2016 has led to a local construction company to enter a guilty plea on willful violation charges.

Hultgren Construction was accused of breaking federal law in the death of a worker during the building collapse. According to KSFY TV, a representative of Hultgren Construction admitted guilt Thursday.

A representative of Hultgren Construction entered the guilty plea Thursday to a federal charge willful violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act resulting in the death of an employee.

As crews were working to remove a load bearing wall on the Copper Lounge building December 2, 2016 it collapse. Ethan McMahon died in the collapse. Emily Fodness was living on the second floor of the building at the time. She was rescued after being trapped in the rubble for several hours. Fodness and the family of McMahon reached a settlement totaling more than $4 million.

A sentencing hearing has now been scheduled for December 16 as Hultgren Construction faces up to five years of probation and a $500,000 fine. Company official Brian Bauer told a judge that the business does not have the ability to pay any fines.

Source: KSFY TV, Associated Press

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