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Follow the email: Co-worker warned police about young driver before he crashed. Here’s what happened next.

<i>KCTV</i><br/>Donald R. Jackson Jr. is accused of killing his two sons on October 24
Arif, Merieme
Donald R. Jackson Jr. is accused of killing his two sons on October 24

By Angie Ricono and Cyndi Fahrlander

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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — Three months before that Westport fire pumper crash killed three people, supervisors were warned about Dominic Biscari’s “horrendous driving.” Biscari, age 21, was speeding and ran a red light (lights and sirens were on) in December of 2021.

KCTV5′s I-team has uncovered additional information after studying just-released video and audio recordings from a police crash investigation. We found an interview a whistleblower did with police after the fatal crash. This interview was not included in the initial 323-page police case file released to KCTV5.

We learned that Biscari had crashed before. He crashed an ambulance, and he crashed his personal vehicle into a police car in the firehouse parking lot.

This whistleblower sent an email warning supervisors that Biscari was a dangerous driver. That was less than three months before the Westport crash.

We’ve previously reported on the email. The subject line was “Horrendous driving.” But with the newly-released audio recordings, we hear from the whistleblower and from the supervisors addressed in the email.

In the email, the whistleblower recounts a rough shift with Biscari as an ambulance driver. It details speeding, dangerous driving, and Biscari’s response. Police question the whistleblower about what happened to spur that email.

“I screamed at him to stop. (I) thought he was going to get us killed,” said the whistleblower. “I was thrown from the bench seat into the floor, and between the cot and the bench. We had to yell at him multiple times to take it easy—to slow down—because we were dealing with an intubated patient. He didn’t really respond to us hollering.”

And another incident, that same day, “He was going so fast that he was unable to see that the road dropped out, and he basically launched a 14,000-pound truck.”

In the email, the whistleblower wrote, “what I experienced yesterday was not only dangerous to myself but the citizens of KC also.”

“So, I sent this email to my direct chain of command,” said the whistleblower. “My captain that I answer to, and my battalion chief.”

The question is—what happened next?

Police interview both men about their response to the email.

“So I read it, and I made a note that when our shifts lined up again, and we’re both at work, I would have a discussion with (the whistleblower) about the incident,” said Captain James Vontersch. The captain did in fact speak with the whistleblower. And assured the whistleblower they’d never have to work with Biscari again.

“And then, as far as I’m concerned at that point, there was nothing else I can do within my scope,” said Vontersch. “My direct supervisor was supposedly notified. I saw that he was CC on it…so I was under the assumption that he was notified.”

But the Battalion Chief said he never got the email. He told the police investigator that he’d never actually seen the email before talking with police.

“When I got promoted to Battalion Chief, our email changed,” said Battalion Chief John McKie. “So (the whistleblower) sent to the email I had before. I haven’t opened it. I’ve never seen it.”

Investigators don’t ask follow-up questions about the old email. It’s unclear if that old email address continues to receive messages, or if there’s an auto-generated response alerting people there’s a new email.

Brad Pinsky is a New York attorney and a former Fire Chief. He’s the author of several books on how departments should be managed and was named Training Officer of the Year by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

“As soon as somebody who’s qualified is telling you that ‘I do not feel safe’ or ‘I do not believe this operator of the vehicle is driving in a safe manner.’ That person needs to be removed immediately,” said Pinsky.

He said the department missed an opportunity to improve safety.

“When somebody says ‘I don’t feel safe,’ you don’t move them do another vehicle, you address the safety issue,” said Pinsky. “And now, who’s going to want to speak out on safety issues, when you’ve essentially reprimanded somebody by moving them out of an ambulance to another vehicle? Nobody would want to speak out.”

An arbitrator awarded the victims’ families more than $32 million in a civil lawsuit. That’s way over the cap set by Missouri law so a settlement is still being worked out in the courts.

Biscari took an Alford Plea deal to involuntary manslaughter and received probation. He’s been fired from the department, but he’s filed a grievance to keep his job.

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