Family of victim in crash involving Kansas City firetruck files wrongful death suit

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of one victim in the deadly crash involving a Kansas City Fire Department firetruck has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

According to court records, the family of 25-year-old Michael Elwood accuses the driver of the firetruck and the city of Kansas City of negligence leading to Elwood’s death.

FOX4 has not heard back from the city or fire department at this time so it’s unknown on the driver’s training or city requirements. However, there are no special state requirements to get behind the wheel of a firetruck.

The Dec. 15 crash in Westport killed three people when a firetruck and a Honda SUV crashed near Broadway and Westport Road. The vehicles then crashed into a building that formerly functioned as The Riot Room music venue.

Elwood and 41-year-old Jennifer San Nicholas occupied the SUV and died, along with a pedestrian identified as 41-year-old Tami Knight.

FOX4 has also not heard from the family attorney so it is unknown at this time why they say the driver lacked proper training.

The fire department said he completed cadet academy in the summer of 2020.

The petition alleges the driver of the firetruck failed to exercise the highest degree of care.

The night of the crash, the crew in the firetruck were called to a possible weather-related fire, but they were called off about a minute before the crash.

Kansas City Fire Chief Donna Lake said the truck had lights and sirens on.

The lawsuit accuses the city of allowing an individual with “inadequate experience, training and knowledge” to operate the vehicle and hiring the driver without assessing his “level of competency.”

Elwood’s family is demanding a trial by jury in their petition for damages for wrongful death.

The Kansas City Fire Department deferred any comment to the city. FOX4 has reached out to Kansas City officials.

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