Family of murdered UTA employee sues transit company

Family of murdered UTA employee sues transit company (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - The family of Kay Ricks, a Utah Transit Authority (UTA) employee who was killed by a pair of wanted fugitives in 2016, is suing the transportation agency.

Attorney Brian Boggess is representing the family, he says UTA made three critical decisions that he believes ultimately lead to Ricks abduction and murder.

“If any one of these three (decisions) is made differently Kay Ricks most likely is still alive today,” says Boggess.

Boggess says the train platform from where Ricks was kidnapped was considered dangerous by other UTA employees, some of whom had been assaulted there and that the UTA board had been informed of the potential dangers but continued to allow employees like Ricks, who worked a grave yard shift, to work alone.

“There’s really no good reason for a UTA employee to be working in dangerous areas alone,” says Boggess.

The attorney also says that UTA did not equip Ricks vehicle with a GPS unit. Had they, he says, police might have been able to track down Ricks before Flint and Dereck Harrison drove him to Wyoming and killed him.

“GPS units are cheap, they’re easy to install and had the UTA board made the decision to put a GPS in Kay Ricks truck in real time they would have seen that the truck was going east on I-80 towards Wyoming,” says Boggess.

The attorney however says that it is how UTA handled Ricks call for help that was most instrumental in his ultimate murder. Boggess says Ricks, while being kidnapped, pushed the panic button on his company radio, a call that was heard by another employee. “There was commotion, his voice was heightened, his breathing was faster, he was in distress,” says Boggess.

The attorney says the employee botched the response to this distress call, partially he says, because of poor training. Boggess says instead of fanning out to find a man whose life was in danger, UTA police believed Ricks could be a criminal.

“Their first concern was ‘why had Kay Ricks stolen their truck, did he have financial problems, why did he steal their truck?’” says Boggess.

“They treated him as a defendant rather than responding to the distress call the way they should have,” he adds.

Boggess says the family is suing for an undetermined sum, but he says no amount of money could fill the hole left by Kay’s death, “it’s been a difficult 2 years, they’ve really had to pick up the pieces,” says Boggess.

We reached out to UTA, spokesman for the agency says they have not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on the pending litigation.

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