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Email: KCFD employee warned of co-worker's 'horrendous driving' months before deadly Westport crash

Westport crash email
Posted at 7:01 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 18:11:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An email obtained by the KSHB 41 I-Team details complaints and concerns about the KCFD pumper truck driver months before the deadly Westport crash. It was filed in court on Thursday.

At the time of the complaints, the driver was behind the wheel of an ambulance. KSHB 41 is not naming the driver at this time because he's not facing any criminal charges.

Related:Videos show final seconds leading up to deadly KCFD crash in Westport

Below is part of the email:

Captain, I wanted to let you know about a very serious and dangerous situation I had yesterday on shift 9-28-21," the email stated.

The KCFD paramedic wrote the email with "horrendous driving" as the subject line. It was sent to a captain and battalion chief.

Below is another part of the email:

This email is to inform you that what I experienced yesterday was not only dangerous to myself but the citizens of KC also.

Attorney Tim Dollar represents the Elwood family. Michael Elwood was one of three people killed in the Westport crash.

“It’s very troubling. It’s a notice to the city well in advance of three people losing their lives that this driver was put in a position by the city that risks the lives of their own employees and other members of our community," Elwood said.

Dollar further explained his and the Elmwood family's frustration with the email.

"The author of this email was concerned about this driver being put in a position of any fire department vehicle, let alone a pumper truck that weighs thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds," Dollar said.

In one situation, the paramedic said she feared for her life, because she said the driver was "going so fast" that they went airborne.

Another time, she said they were taking a critical patient who was intubated to the hospital. She and another co-worker told the driver "to slow down" after he took some turns too fast causing her to fall off the bench seat.

Another co-worker told her the driver made a medical student "physically ill."

Below is another part of the email detailing that:

"I went home in physical and mental pain because of my shift yesterday. I will not be getting into another ambulance with him ever again. Please something needs to be done," the email stated.

“What we’re interested in, which we have not been permitted to do yet, is to ask questions of the city employees and management as to what they did in response to this email," Dollar said. "That’s the important thrust of this motion."

Dollar filed the motion after he said the city did not produce the email in discovery. He obtained it through independent efforts.

Dollar now wants to learn more about the driver's history.

“I do think the public has a right to know that information," Dollar said. "This is a city department serving members of the community and part of the purpose of this lawsuit is to help us all be informed of what happened and didn’t happen."

The I-Team has tried to get the discipline records for the pumper truck driver, but the city told us no. They cited a state law that says personnel records are closed.

The email brings to light some new details that need answers from city leaders. The I-Team will push for that in the coming days.

We've contacted the fire department, the city, and the driver's attorney, but so far, we have not gotten a response about the email.

If a response from any of those parties are received, this story will be updated.

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