Family of slain UTA worker Kay Ricks blames agency for his death, lawsuit seeks damages

UTAH COUNTY - Lorie Ricks, the wife of Kay Ricks, a Utah Transit Authority (UTA) worker who was kidnapped and killed in May 2016, filed a lawsuit against his former employer Friday, saying that they are responsible for damages suffered due to her husband's death.

"There have been tears, there have been breakdown moments, but there has been no weakness in her resolve to get some answers," said Brian Boggess, the Ricks family attorney.

Ricks was killed by Flint and D.J. Harrison, who were on the run from police in May 2016, after being accused of holding five women against their will at a Centerville home.

Police said the two men kidnapped Ricks on May 12, 2016, stealing his work truck and driving him to Wyoming, where they beat him to death near a dirt road.

Flint Harrison, D.J.'s father, was found dead in Davis County Jail from an apparent suicide. D.J. was convicted and sentenced to life for the murder.

In a complaint and jury demand filed in Utah's Third Judicial District Court, Ricks' family alleges that UTA was aware of the dangerous conditions he was working in as an employee, and the company didn't respond to a distress call that was sent at the time of the incident.

The complaint states that "UTA employees had repeatedly made UTA management aware of the dangers posed to UTA maintenance employees by their working alone in unsafe areas."

Documents also allege that despite being aware of unsafe working conditions, Ricks was assigned to a dangerous area without a fellow employee and with little safeguards such as GPS trackers and well-monitored panic buttons.

Ricks, who was working a swing shift during his maintenance position the day of his kidnapping, attempted to make a distress transmission on his UTA hosted radio as the incident happened before it was turned off.  The lawsuit states that UTA failed to respond to the distress signal.

"Upon information and belief, UTA failed to provide adequate training, supervision or attention to the receiving end of 'panic button' communications, such that a distress signal sent via a panic button by Mr. Ricks was not received or acknowledged in anything close to a timely, reasonable manner," the complaint states. "As a direct and proximate result of the negligence and carelessness of UTA’s decisions and conduct, Mr. Ricks suffered immensely at the hands of the Harrisons, and ultimately lost his life."

As a result of Ricks' death, the complaint states that Lorie Ricks suffered physical and emotional pain and financial loss.  She and her lawyers demanded that the case be tried by a jury and that Lorie Ricks be paid for the damages she suffered.