A teenage worker taking out the garbage at a Long Island Dunkin’ Donuts Sunday night fell into a cesspool and died, police said yesterday.
According to officials, 17-year-old Amiri Zeqiri slipped into an open cesspool behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in Smithtown at around 9 p.m Sunday.
The teen’s cousin, who also worked at the doughnut shop, realized something was wrong when Zeqiri failed to return. The boy later called for help after discovering his cousin in about 8 feet of water inside the cesspool.
By the time help arrived, the teen was no longer visible, police said.
“The family is very upset. I don’t know what else to say…it’s very bad,” a relative at the family’s Central Islip home told PIX News.
Officers from the Suffolk County Police Department’s Emergency Services Section pulled the teen from the cesspool and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Water came through one of the other pipes that was in there and that must have loosened his grip,” said Larry Maher, who owns a pizza shop nearby. “He fell off it and he was splashing around and we were yelling come on hold on and… that was it.”
An autopsy was scheduled later this week for the teen.
Police are now trying to determine why the cesspool was exposed. They say the cover may have been broken or was knocked off by a plow after last week’s snow storm.
“It is certainly in the realm of possibility that a snow plow could have kicked that cover off,” said Detective Lieutenant Gerard Pelkofsky
The property owner didn’t return calls to PIX News. It’s reported the town has issued violations for parking lot and police are considering criminal charges.
It’s not the first time someone has died in a Long Island cesspool.
In June 2007, a landscaper was killed after driving a lawnmower into a cesspool at a Deer Park home.
In July 2006, a worried woman who went to check on her 76-year-old aunt found her buried in a 10-foot-deep cesspool in the front yard of her Huntington home.
In September 2001, a Huntington man practicing archery in his backyard with his children died when an 18-foot-deep cesspool caved in and swallowed him. Searchers soon found the body of Michael Lobasso, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but struggled for about 18 hours to pull it from the quicksand-like pool of muck.
SMH. This is just terrible — this death was absolutely preventable. We foresee a lawsuit against the city in the very near future.
Deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased.