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Involuntary manslaughter case will go to trial

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Henry “Hank” Duggins is scheduled to stand trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter and violating state safety standards that resulted in the 2008 deaths of Jake Gaines and Manuel Villagomez.

Duggins, who was overseeing construction of a portion of the Nacimiento Water Project for Teichert Construction, faces charges that he made mistakes resulting in an accident that trapped and drowned Gaines and Villagomez in a trench.

After six days of preliminary hearings and extensive testimony from witnesses and law enforcement agents, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy ruled there’s enough evidence to hold Duggins to answer on all counts.

He faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two felony counts that he violated standards set by the state division of Occupational Safety and Health, or OSHA. Duggins is scheduled for a Jan. 20 arraignment.

Teichert was hit with $140,000 in OSHA fines following the 2008 accident. The company also agreed to a $3 million settlement agreement with the San Luis Obispo County Office of the District Attorney earlier this year.

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