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Family of murdered UTA maintenance worker sues Transit Authority over death

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The widow of a murdered Utah Transit Authority employee has filed a lawsuit against the agency, as well as the man’s killers.

Maintenance worker Kay Ricks vanished from his job on May 12, 2016.

Police later determined Ricks had been kidnapped by a father and son, who forced the man inside his truck and traveled to Wyoming, where Ricks was eventually found brutally beaten and with his throat slit.

Kay Ricks

The lawsuit, filed in Third District court, alleges employees had made the agency aware of the dangers of maintenance workers operating alone in the area of Salt Lake City where Ricks was taken, and yet the agency continued to have the workers operate on their own.

“If there were an apprentice with him, if there were a second employee with him, odds are this doesn’t happen, and so we want to know what went into that decision to have him work alone,” said Brian Boggess, Ricks family attorney.

The lawsuit also alleges UTA failed to install or refused to install GPS units in agency vehicles, and it did not adequately train workers on what to do if an employee triggered a “panic button” device inside the vehicles.

Ricks, the documents said, had activated the panic button around the time he was kidnapped.

“Mr. Ricks attempted to make a distress transmission on his UTA-issued radio, and sounds of commotion were transmitted before it was turned off about 5 p.m.,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Ricks’ voice sounded hurried and higher pitched, as if he were stressed.”

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of UTA, willful misconduct and wrongful death, among other claims.

UTA spokesman Carl Arky said Tuesday afternoon that the agency had just been made aware of the lawsuit, and was not yet prepared to comment on the pending litigation.

Boggess said the family was seeking damages, but also was hopeful the lawsuit would lead to more answers.

“Our hope is that through this lawsuit not only will the Ricks family get some answers, but UTA and other entities like UTA will have a chance to re-examine their practices, and that re-examination will save lives in the future.”

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