By Stephen McKinley
An Irish-American crane operator was charged on Sunday with reckless endangerment after the 35-ton crane he was operating toppled over and blocked two lanes of the West Side Highway, according to police.
Noel Brolly, 38, of Kew Gardens in Queens was reported to have been found to be intoxicated at the site, and did not properly secure the crane to its platform.
Police alleged that Brolly had been drinking before operating the crane, and had a .07 blood alcohol level. The legal limit for driving is .10.
Brolly had been using the crane to load debris into a truck near West and Vesey Streets, close to where the World Trade Center towers stood.
At 7:29 a.m., the 100-foot-tall crane toppled over. Brolly’s hand was slightly injured at the scene, said a police source, but he refused medical attention.
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“Traffic is pretty light in that area on Sunday morning,” said a police officer, and so there was only minimal disruption while the crane was uprighted by workers using another crane. However, three of the highway’s four lanes were closed until 2 p.m.
The company that owns the crane, Atlantic-Heydt National, has refused to comment on the issue to reporters.
Brolly was released from prison on Monday and issued with a ticket to appear in court on Aug. 27.