Virginia Construction Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Teen's Death

A ditch collapsed at a Fairfax County, Virginia, construction site, burying Spencer Lunde for 10 minutes before crews could get him out

The owner of a Virginia construction company that specializes in luxury homes pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 16-year-old boy who was killed while working for his company in 2019.

Thomas Digges, of Digges Development Corporation, operated the Fairfax County job site where a trench gave way and buried Spencer Lunde, of McLean, on July 23, 2019.

Lunde was helping build a sewage line for a new housing development in the 1800 block of Solitaire Lane when the ditch collapsed and trapped him.

It took crews 10 minutes to free Lunde. Medics laid the teen on the sidewalk and tried to revive him, according to neighbors. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died.

After Lunde's death, Digges was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and violating child labor law.

Digges' plea agreement would suspend any potential sentence and allow him to serve supervised probation. Without the plea agreement, Digges could receive up to 10 years in prison.

The prosecutor in the case said the case is more than tragic.

Digges' son was close friends with Spencer Lunde.

It's illegal for minors to work in excavation in Virginia, though teens who are 16 can work other construction jobs.

His sentencing is scheduled for October.

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