Slain train worker’s wife says Utah Transit Authority failed to protect him

Stock image, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah state agency failed to protect a train worker who was kidnapped and killed by a father and son in 2016, his widow claims in a lawsuit.

The Utah Transit Authority put a panic button on workers’ radios after union warnings about the dangers of working alone, but didn’t respond to his final radio call in time to save him, the suit said. The suit faults the agency for not putting workers in pairs or installing GPS devices in maintenance trucks.

Kay Ricks, 63, was grabbed while working near a Salt Lake City train station by two men who were on the run from police. Flint and Dereck Harrison forced him into his own truck and drove two hours north to Wyoming, then pulled off a dirt road and beat him with his own tools.

He survived long enough to drag himself out of the sagebrush in hopes of being found, the lawsuit said. His body was found five days after his disappearance.

The Harrisons were on the run from police after tying up five people in a Utah basement. They’d lured a woman and her four teenage daughters to a house outside Salt Lake City with a barbecue invitation, then tied them up and beat them with a baseball bat, police said.

The women managed to escape, but the men fled. Two days later they attacked Ricks at a nearby downtown train substation, authorities said. They were eventually arrested in Wyoming. Flint Harrison killed himself in jail, and Dereck Harrison is serving life in prison.

Spokesman Carl Arky declined to comment on the claims Tuesday, saying the agency hasn’t seen the lawsuit yet.

Written by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press

Associated Press writer Brady McCombs contributed to this report.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Mike P May 17, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Seriously? Of course it’s the Transit Authority’s fault, not the criminals. The Transit Authority are the only ones with money here and well, in todays society, you have to blame somebody. And hopefully, someone with some money.
    Their are tens of thousands of people who “work alone and work outside” I myself was a lineman for a utility company for almost 30 years and rarely worked with anyone. I had a job and did it . I dealt with many idiots and gang bangers in the field and even had a gun pulled on me a couple times. Unfortunately, that was just part of the job, we dealt with this stuff because we had customers that needed service. I’m sure the Transit Authority does what it can to protect employees in the field but some things just can’t be foreseen and I believe this is the case here. What was the T.A.’s responsibility here? Are they expected to provide every employee with armed guards? Of course not. You can’t live in your little bubble and expect to be protected against everything. This was a very unfortunate situation but I don’t see how the T.A. could have prevented it.

  • Icomments2 May 18, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Maybe not necessarily their fault, but they could have found his body sooner by having a GPS tracker in the equipment they have. I mean come on they do have to go out in no man land. I’m sure your company had some kind of device to locate you or atleast their equipment… I actually hope she wins and gets some kind of compensation out of it, he wasnt that old to die of natural causes yet so a nice pension for the rest of her life would even be good!!!

    • Mike P May 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Icomments2, This was a terrible scenario, for sure. I would not discount that fact and feel badly about what happened. YES, I do believe his company could have done something, but I don’t believe putting a gps tracker in his truck would have saved him.
      Now, here’s the awful truth. Company’s only put trackers in their vehicles so they can check to make sure you’re where you’re supposed to be working and not driving around or “out of area”. . They don’t put ’em in for an employees safety, trust me. I’ve seen a few buddys laying broken up at the base of a pole until the next day waiting for their boss to come check on him. Also, many company’s don’t have constant access to the gps tracker (because they have to pay everytime they use it) they only bring it up when they want to check on the employee and many large company’s wouldn’t even know he didn’t check in at the end of his shift till the next day when the boss wonders where heck he’s at.
      GPS is modern technology and is said to be “Just a tool” but it needs to be used properly.

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