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Long IslandSuffolk

LI has seen handful of tragic cesspool accidents

The Sunday night death of a Smithtown Dunkin' Donuts worker who fell into a cesspool is one of a handful of such tragic accidents over the past quarter-century on Long Island.

In June 2007 landscaper Sergio Reyes, 34, of Central Islip, was killed when he drove a lawn mower into a cesspool outside a home in Deer Park. An autopsy showed that Reyes died of compression injuries suffered due to the weight of the lawn mower.

And in July 2006, Ruth Cotgreave, 76, died when she was buried in a 10-foot-deep cesspool in the front yard of her home in Elwood.

In September 2001 a Huntington man practicing archery in his backyard died when a 18-foot-deep cesspool caved in, taking him with it. It took 18 hours to recover the body of Michael LoBasso, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, from the muck.

Other incidents include the death of a Dix Hills father and his two sons in 1994, when they were apparently overcome by lethal fumes while working on their cesspool, and the death of a Glen Head man in 1987. He drowned in his cesspool after falling in as he was carrying a loaded lawn mower grass-catcher over the lid.

Still others have survived such incidents, the most recent case being in December, when Mario Flores, 37, of Brentwood, was rescued from a 35-foot-hole in East Hills after the dirt collapsed on him while building a cesspool.

He had been trapped for about five hours, officials said.

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