Local family returns to site of loved one's death
DORAL, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida family made an emotional pilgrimage Wednesday when they returned to the site where they lost a husband and father while he was on the job at a college campus.
A new parking garage is already close to completion, but a year ago Thursday, a collapse took the lives of several workers, including 53-year-old Robert Budhoo.
Robert's family could not let the anniversary pass before returning to the site. "I can't explain to anyone for them to understand how it really feels losing someone that you love, someone that means the world to you," said Laurel Budhoo, Robert's widow, who was married to the victim 34 years.
Robert lost his life while working on the garage. "Horrible," Laurel said. "It's a pain that hit me. This is where my husband was working, bring home bread, put on the table for his family, and this is where he lost his life."
Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the collapse of the five-story parking garage at Miami-Dade College in Doral. Budhoo was buried too deep, and it took rescuers nine days to find his body. "Due to the fact that he was there for nine days, he started decomposing and everything," said Shewana Acciaio, Robert's daughter. "So due to that fact, we didn't even get to say a proper goodbye. I think that's what's eating at us the most."
To try to ease the pain, Robert's family visited the site Wednesday and laid flowers around a tree just yards from where a new parking garage will soon open. "Tomorrow makes one year; it doesn't feel like a year," Acciaio said. "It just seems like it was yesterday and looking back over there makes it more depressing."
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found evidence the construction companies building the garage didn't properly secure columns, which contributed to the collapse.
The Budhoos, along with three other families who lost loved ones, settled lawsuits against the companies involved. "I forgive them, but I do blame them," Laurel said. "I'm a Christian, so I have to forgive them, just like Jesus forgave me."
"Accidents happen, but this was an accident that could've been prevented," Acciaio said. "I'm forever gonna hold it up against them."
OSHA also filed a lawsuit against the companies, and they were fined $38,000.
The Budhoos did not disclose the amount they received in their lawsuit.
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