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Union files grievance, wants arbitrator to help Kansas City FF get job back after fatal crash

Firefighter Dominic S. Biscari was responding to a fire when he ran a red light, struck a car and sent it into a building killing 3 people


Kansas City firefighters on the scene in Westport after a fire truck collided with a car killing two people and causing a partial building collapse.

Photo/Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service

By Glenn E. Rice
The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The labor union that represents Kansas City firefighters has filed a grievance against the city’s unpaid suspension and pending termination of a firefighter who killed three people in a fire truck crash in Westport two years ago.

The International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 42, wants the city to agree to appoint an arbitrator who will settle the dispute over Dominic S. Biscari’s employment and determine whether he should be reinstated.

Biscari, 23, was driving a Kansas City Fire Department fire truck that struck a car with two people inside, killing them and a pedestrian, on Dec. 15, 2021.

In March, Biscari pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to three counts of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to three years of probation.

The fire department suspended Biscari without pay after the court hearing. City officials said they were seeking to fire him.

On Tuesday, city officials received the formal grievance submitted by Local 42 seeking the appointment of an independent arbitrator to determine whether Biscari is entitled to get his job back.

“Dominic’s team’s effort to regain his employment and good standing with the fire department is ongoing,” said Kevin Regan, an attorney representing Biscari. “And we look forward to an arbitration hearing at the earliest opportunity, we feel we have, we feel we have a very strong, strong case for his reinstatement.”

“The collective bargaining agreement between his union and the city and the legal precedent that interprets that agreement and these facts is very strong to support his reinstatement with full pay and back pay,” Regan said.

City Manager Brian Platt declined to comment on this story Wednesday. Dan Heizman, president of Local 42, also declined to comment.

Jackson County prosecutors have said the fire truck driven by Biscari was traveling 51 mph in a 35 mph zone and had a red light at the time of crash at the intersection of Westport Road and Broadway Boulevard.

When the fire truck struck a Honda CRV carrying Michael Elwood and Jennifer San Nicolas, the impact thrust the vehicles northwest, causing them to hit Rami Knight, the pedestrian, before slamming into a building. Elwood, San Nicholas and Knight were all killed.

San Nicolas and Elwood worked at the restaurant Ragazza and Knight worked for the Kansas City Public Schools.

Several civil lawsuits have been filed since the crash. The city recently agreed to pay more than $1.3 million to family members of the victims.

Union officials had previously filed a grievance that alleged that the city violated various provisions in its collective bargaining agreement as well as fire department rules, policies and practices. The union said the city did not conduct a disciplinary investigation before it sought to have Biscari terminated. It said the city also failed to provide Biscari with legal representation.

Regan has said Biscari was filling in as a fire truck driver and had not been properly trained.

He alleged the city had failed to fully install a safety system that can change traffic lights to green for first responders on the way to an emergency.

Additionally, attorneys said they were not told about a prior complaint about Biscari’s driving.

In September 2021, a medic told supervisors that she feared for her life after being in an ambulance driven by Biscari as he was speeding.

©2023 The Kansas City Star.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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