KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City firefighter who was suspended Tuesday when he pleaded guilty to three counts of vehicular manslaughter says he will do everything he can to keep his job.
FOX4 is also learning more about technology Dominic Biscari’s attorney says could have helped prevent the crash.
The December 2021 crash claimed the lives of three people when Biscari – on his way to a fire with lights and sirens – drove a fire pumper truck 16 miles over the speed limit through a red light hitting a SUV in the intersection of Westport and Broadway and then a pedestrian.
Entering an Alford plea in a plea bargain Tuesday to avoid jailtime, Biscari maintained his innocence though prosecutors argued he didn’t exercise due regard for others safety before entering the intersection.
Biscari’s Attorney, Kevin Regan, pointed out Kansas City fire trucks are equipped with technology that could have prevented the situation but said the city has never installed the needed equipment on its side.
It’s called Opticom and the manufacturer, Global Traffic Technologies, says its now in use in 48 of the 50 largest cities in America. A Fire Chief in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenfield explained how it works in 2021 to WTTV.
“When that fire truck, ambulance, police car or whatever gets 3,000 feet from that signal, it’ll start that process to change that signal green so the traffic is gone before we get there,” Chief Brian Lott said. “It turns the light green for the direction you’re going, and it stops the cross traffic.”
Overland Park tells FOX4 the technology has been in place in the Kansas City suburb since before the year 2000. It says transponders cost roughly $1500 for each vehicle while receivers are priced at $10,000 for each intersection.
The company says its emergency vehicle preemption technology is in place at more than 90,000 intersections and it reduces crashes by up to 70% and response times by up to 25%.
FOX4 contacted the Kansas City Fire Department who referred us to the city for all questions about why discovery in the Biscari case found those transponders are installed in KCFD trucks but allegedly not at city intersections or at least Westport and Broadway.
FOX4 called and emailed a city spokesperson multiple times over the past two days about the technology but didn’t receive a response.
As for that firefighter’s suspension without pay and the KCFD’s announcement they’ll work to fire him, Biscari’s attorney said the following:
“Dominic will do everything he can to retain his position on the fire department. His team is prepared to vigorously fight to help him keep what the City has wrongly taken from him. We are disappointed by the City’s arbitrary decision and believe it will be overturned.”