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KCMO City Council approves 1 settlement, holds 2 others related to deadly KCFD crash in Westport

Crash in December 2021 killed 3 people
Deadly Westport crash anniversary
Posted at 4:01 PM, May 18, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council approved one settlement to resolve a civil lawsuit filed in connection with the deadly crash involving a KCFD pumper truck in December 2021 in Westport.

But two other settlements were held until the council's first June meeting.

The KCMO City Council approved a settlement for $281,500 with the boyfriend of one of the three victims who died when a KCFD pumper truck responding to a canceled fire call sped through a red light northbound on Broadway Boulevard at the intersection with Westport Road, striking an SUV in the intersection.

The crash spilled off the road and into a nearby building that partially collapsed.

Three people died — Michael Elwood and Jennifer San Nicolas, who were in the SUV, and Tami Knight, who was getting into her boyfriend's car along a nearby sidewalk and was struck when the vehicles left the road — and the former Riot Room building partially collapsed in the crash.

The city approved a $281,500 settlement with Knight's boyfriend, Alexander Llera, whose car was destroyed as he narrowly escaped injury when the vehicles left the road and hit the building. The vote was 10-0.

“This will forever affect Alex — and everyone else who lost someone in the accident," Llera's attorney, Jarrett Johnson, said in a statement to KSHB 41. "He is grateful that the parties reached a resolution before the August trial date. This spared all involved considerable expense — and the anguish that would surely come from replaying that tragic night's events repeatedly in a courtroom.”

The council held a $1.5 million partial settlement with Elwood's family despite a committee recommendation that it be passed.

A third settlement, a partial settlement with the KCFD union, also was held.

The driver of the KCFD pumper truck involved in the crash, Dominic Biscari, as well as KCFD's fire union, IAFF Local No. 42, and the families of the three victims teamed up in November 2022 seeking more than $32 million from the city in a lawsuit.

That amount stems from the recommendation from an arbitrator, which was later confirmed by a Jackson County judge.

The lawsuit claimed Biscari, who received three years' probation after pleading guilty in March to three counts of second-degree manslaughter, initially had legal representation by the city, “but in the weeks that followed, the City reversed its position and withdraw as counsel for Biscari.”

The lawsuit also alleged the city previously provided legal counsel to employees, including firefighters, which “created a pattern and practice.”

In response, the fire union filed a grievance against the city. It claimed that failing to provide Biscari with an attorney violated the collective bargaining agreement between the city and union.

The other civil lawsuit was filed by Knight's boyfriend, who sued the city, KCFD and Biscari.

In the lawsuit, the boyfriend claims he was “nearly struck himself” and “jumped out of the way at the last possible second.” He and Knight were about to get into his car when the crash happened and she was killed.

The boyfriend alleges in the lawsuit that he suffered “severe emotional distress and property damage.”

A judge previously approved a $1.6 million settlement for the wrongful-death claims related to the Westport crash in January 2023. The city paid the majority of that money.

KSHB Digital In-Depth Reporter Tod Palmer contributed to this article.