Mother-of-five crushed by falling 2,000-pound gravestone in New York

Family has sued cemetery

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Sunday 20 February 2022 17:27 GMT
Baron Hirsch Cemetery in Staten Island, New York City.
Baron Hirsch Cemetery in Staten Island, New York City. (Wikimedia Commons )
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A New York family is suing a Staten Island cemetery after a 2,000-pound grave monument fell on an employee who was tending a nearby grave, killing her.

On 28 October, according to court documents, mother-of-five Elvira Navarro, 53, was working at the Baron Hirsch Cemetery alongside her son Anthony Rosales when the gravestone came down on top of her, The New York Post reports.

She was taken to Richmond University Medical Center, where she died of her injuries the same day.

Now her family has sued the Baron Hirsch Cemetery Association in Manhattan court, accusing it failing to maintain safe working conditions at the historic Jewish cemetery, which was built in 1899 and is home to many Holocaust survivors.

The Independent has reached out to the BHCA for comment.

The suit, filed earlier this month, accuses the cemetery of “causing, permitting, and allowing the Cemetery to become and remain in a dangerous, hazardous, trap-like condition”.

It also alleges that Anthony Rosales suffered greatly after watching his mother die, sustaining “severe and permanent injuries, a shock to his nervous system, psychological trauma and has been caused to suffer severe physical pain and mental anguish”.

“I’m devastated to hear that news,” Rabbi Andrew Schultz, executive director of the Community Alliance for Jewish-Affiliated Cemeteries, which helps maintain Jewish cemeteries, told the Post.

“That’s what we worry about the most, as an organization. That is the greatest fear we have.

“That’s why in the work we do, one of the very first things we do is making sure the stones are secure … It could happen at even the best-maintained cemeteries; you will see stones that are leaning.”

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