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Protest in Westport as KCMO Fire Department driver behind deadly fire truck crash returns to job

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Posted at 11:18 PM, Apr 22, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Protesters took to the streets in Westport Monday night and called for more protections as a driver behind a deadly firetruck crash returns to his job.

The crash happened in December 2021 when a Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department pumper truck ran a red light at Westport Road and Broadway. The pumper truck crashed into an SUV that entered the intersection on a green light.

Both vehicles slammed into a nearby building.

Michael Elwood, Tami Knight and Jennifer San Nicholas were killed.

"Jen and Michael were driving home from work." said Chelle Cooper. "It could have been any of us."

Last year, the KSHB 41 I-team found the pumper truck was equipped with a safety device that could have changed the traffic signal, but the intersection did not have a detector.

More than 20 people lined a Westport corner Monday night with a message about public safety.

They were protesting that KCFD pumper truck driver, Dominic Biscari, can return to his job as a driver.

“If protocol and policy had been in place, I believe it would have saved Jen, Michael and Tami,” said Cooper. “We want to start with getting the sensor system installed that’s partially in place.”

Most of those in the crowd are part of the food service industry in the city.

“This is part of the Ragazza family,” said Connie Stoner. “These people that have suffered so much, these young people that were killed. Most people here knew them and are part of the serving community.”

Ragazza is a popular Italian restaurant just north of the Country Club Plaza.

Elwood and San Nicholas worked at the restaurant.

“We need some accountability from the city, from the fire department, for all of us," Stoner said. "This intersection, day or night, is dangerous. If we could even get sensors so when the emergency vehicles come here, they could at least change the light.”

Drivers noticed and want the same thing.

“This place is a drunken nightmare," said one driver. "I deliver food on the weekend, and I always am very cautious when I come through here because I know someone is going to violate the traffic laws and put me at risk."

Stoner said the group is not against the fire or police departments, they just want changes made so a tragedy doesn't happen again.

KSHB 41 reached out to the city, the fire department and the firefighter's union, IAFF Local 42, but no one returned our calls for comment.

The attorneys representing the victim's families also did not want to comment.