SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 15, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The widow of Kay Porter Ricks, the Utah Transit Authority worker who was kidnapped and murdered in 2016, has filed a lawsuit against UTA saying it did not do enough to protect her late husband.
Ricks, who worked in maintenance for UTA, was kidnapped on May 12, 2016. Father and son Flint and Dereck “D.J.” Harrison, trying to flee after an unrelated kidnapping, came upon Ricks as he worked at the Ballpark UTA substation.
The Harrisons forced Ricks into his truck, tied his hands behind his back, and fled Utah for Wyoming, where 63-year-old Ricks was later killed.
His body was found on May 17, with “crushing wounds” to the face, his autopsy said.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in 3rd District Court, Lorie Ricks and her attorneys allege that:
• UTA employees and a union representative had made UTA aware of threats to and assaults of maintenance workers sent to locations similar to those serviced by Ricks.
UTA failed or refused to send a second employee or apprentice trainee to work with maintenance workers.
• UTA failed or refused to place GPS (global positioning system) units on its trucks, despite the relatively low expense of doing so.
Such a device would have allowed officials to quickly pinpoint the location of the missing truck.
• Although UTA did offer its employees a “panic button” device during swing or overnight shifts, no one responded when Ricks activated his.
“Unfortunately, the panic buttons are only as good as the support staff monitoring those communications,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also names D.J. and Flint Harrison as defendants.
D.J. Harrison was sentenced for life without parole. Flint Harrison took his own life before he could be tried.