KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Despite the Jackson County court ruling “beyond a reasonable doubt” that suspended Kansas City, Missouri firefighter Dominic Biscari was guilty of manslaughter, the court accepted a plea from Alford on Tuesday, according to court documents .
An Alford plea, also known as a “best interests plea,” is a relatively rare special guilty plea in which the defendant claims their innocence but agrees to plead guilty because they do not believe they will prevail at trial.
Biscari was the driver of a KCFD pump truck that ran through a red light on December 15, 2021, at Broadway Boulevard and Westport Road, resulting in an accident that left three people dead and a building partially collapsed.
He was charged Tuesday — more than 14 months after the fatal crash and a year after prosecutors received the case from Kansas City, Missouri, police — on three counts of second-degree manslaughter, a class felony AND.
Biscari was sentenced to three years probation as part of the plea deal, which his attorneys negotiated with the Jackson County Attorney’s Office before charges were announced.
Within hours of posting the charges against Casenet, Biscari appeared in court to plead guilty in an unusually swift resolution of the criminal case.
Jackson County Attorney Jean Peters Baker’s office announced Biscari’s probation, but the nature of the plea and further details of the motive were not immediately available.
Biscari must also carry out 40 hours of civil service.
Jackson County Judge Janette K. Rodecap also fined Biscari $46 for the crime victim’s compensation fund.
The city settled a series of wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of the victims — Michael Elwood, Tami Knight and Jennifer San Nicolas — for $1.6 million last month.
He is also barred from any contact with victims or witnesses in his case “outside of court proceedings” and prohibited from owning or possessing weapons or ammunition while on probation.
Biscari and the families of the victims are also plaintiffs in a $32.4 million civil lawsuit against the City of Kansas City for breach of contract. The lawsuit is based on the findings of an independent arbitrator.
IAFF Local 42, the union representing KCFD, is also a party to the lawsuit against KCMO.
Acting KCFD chief Ross Grundyson suspended Biscari without pay and said the department would move to have him fired, but Biscari’s defense attorney Kevin Regan said in a statement his client would appeal that decision.
It could be a moot point whether the guilty plea costs Biscari his EMT-Basic license.
The Missouri Department of Health and Aging Services’ Bureau of EMS requested court documents related to the manslaughter charges against Biscari.
Regan says a lack of proper training and equipment, as well as the city’s inability to fully install security systems, contributed to the fatal crash.
He sent KSHB 41 a revised statement on Friday morning:
Every night, while the city sleeps, these brave men and women rush to their fire trucks and risk their lives to save our lives, homes and properties.
When the alarm bell rings, they fearlessly answer the call to duty.
Unfortunately the City did not answer the fire brigade’s bell. It provides unsafe intersections, inefficient radio communications, outdated traffic light technology, and meaningless legal representation for these brave civil servants.
The city’s actions against Dominic lack due process and lack cause, and they know it.
The Municipality does not take care of its citizens.
Kevin Regan, defense attorney for KCFD firefighter Dominic Biscari
A colleague traveling with Biscari in a KCFD ambulance had complained to supervisors about his “horrendous driving”, but there is no indication that any action had been taken.
Biscari was driving 17 mph over the posted 35 mph speed limit northbound on Broadway through a red light when she struck the San Nicolas vehicle, killing her and her passenger, Elwood.
Knight was standing on a nearby curb, getting into her boyfriend’s car when the KCFD pump truck and San Nicolas SUV ran over her as they left the road and partially collapsed the former Riot Room building.
KCFD Westport Fatal Crash: One Year Later by KSHB Manufacturer
For jurisdictions using the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online, or via the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.
Details and annual homicide data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.