Judge: MO Engine Driver lied to police about fatal crash



A Kansas City firefighter made ‘obviously false statements’ to police investigators after driving a fire truck through a red light in Westport and crashing into several vehicles and a building, killing three people, a fireman has found retired judge overseeing the resulting civil proceedings.

KCFD’s Dominic Biscari told Kansas City police investigating the crash that he slowed down as he approached the busy intersection, assessed for other drivers and braked hard when he saw an SUV park in front of him.

But Judge Miles Sweeney found those things were all untrue and easily refuted by eyewitness testimony, traffic camera footage and other physical evidence compiled by investigators, according to court documents filed Friday after the indictment was concluded. arbitration on October 14.

The civil case centers on an accident involving Kansas City Fire Pumper 19 on December 15. On the night of the accident, the fire truck driven by Biscari was traveling north on Broadway Boulevard toward a reported structure fire when it collided with an SUV driven by Jennifer San Nicolas at Westport Road.

San Nicolas and front passenger Michael Elwood were pushed through the intersection and up Broadway as the fire truck continued into a series of cars parked along the street. Tammi Knight, a pedestrian who was about to enter a vehicle, was struck when the fire engine crashed into her and through the facade of a commercial building which once housed a popular bar.

The SUV carrying San Nicolas and Elwood was pushed onto the sidewalk. After the fire truck crashed through a brick wall, the upper story of the building collapsed, trapping Knight under a pile of rubble for 10 hours. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash happened about a minute after firefighters were advised by dispatchers to stand down.

Earlier this month, Sweeney was assigned to oversee arbitration proceedings in the wrongful death claims case brought specifically against Biscari. Biscari, who has a criminal defense attorney but was not provided one by the city in the civil suit against him, was not present for an evidentiary hearing held in those proceedings on October 7. .

In his summary, Sweeney concluded that the relatives of the victims — and the owner of the destroyed building — deserved to receive collective compensation of $32 million from Biscari. The arbitration award, which requires the final approval of a Jackson County judge to take effect, was part of an unopposed motion for a draft judgment in favor of the plaintiffs filed in court Friday.

Any personal liability that Biscari may incur as a result would not be borne by KCFD.

The families also filed suit against Kansas City, and specifically the Kansas City Fire Department. Those claims are still pending in Jackson County Circuit Court, and Biscari was dismissed from that civil case on Oct. 7 as part of his agreement to settle the civil claims in arbitration.

Lawyers for the families allege the city and fire department were negligent in allowing Biscari to operate a 40,000-pound fire truck the night of the crash. Among the evidence they cited is a warning an employee shared with firefighters just under three months before the fatal accident happened.

Employee told supervisors Biscari speeded 70mph on Broadway when it was unnecessary while they were transporting critically ill patient, and swore she would never ride with him again ‘never again’ .

That warning, reported by The Star in August, was also a point Sweeney made when considering a reward for bereaved families, according to court documents. Sweeney said the department was “aware of (Biscari’s) dangerous and reckless driving of KCFD vehicles,” referring to the email sent to KCFD supervisors with the subject line: “Horrendous Driving.”

Sweeney concluded that Biscari clearly violated fire department policies aimed at public safety while traveling approximately 15 miles per hour above the posted speed limit leading up to the fatal crash. His findings were based in part on those of expert witness Randy Villines, a central Missouri fire instructor hired by the plaintiffs, who testified that Biscari failed to watch carefully and travel at excessive speed for the conditions that night. -the.

Meanwhile, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office received the findings of a Kansas City police investigation into the crash in February. Prosecutors continue to assess whether they will pursue criminal charges against Biscari.

©2022 The Kansas City Star. Visit kansascity.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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