Slain train worker’s wife says agency failed to protect him

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah state agency failed to protect a train worker who was kidnapped and killed by a father and son in 2016, his widow claims in a lawsuit.

The Utah Transit Authority put a panic button on workers’ radios after union warnings about the dangers of working alone, but didn’t respond to his final radio call in time to save him, the suit said. The suit faults the agency for not putting workers in pairs or installing GPS devices in maintenance trucks.

Kay Ricks, 63, was grabbed while working near a Salt Lake City train station by two men who were on the run from police. Flint and Dereck Harrison forced him into his own truck and drove two hours north to Wyoming, then pulled off a dirt road and beat him with his own tools.

He survived long enough to drag himself out of the sagebrush in hopes of being found, the lawsuit said. His body was found five days after his disappearance.

The Harrisons were on the run from police after tying up five people in a Utah basement. They’d lured a woman and her four teenage daughters to a house outside Salt Lake City with a barbecue invitation, then tied them up and beat them with a baseball bat, police said.

The women managed to escape, but the men fled. Two days later they attacked Ricks at a nearby downtown train substation, authorities said. They were eventually arrested in Wyoming. Flint Harrison killed himself in jail, and Dereck Harrison is serving life in prison.

Spokesman Carl Arky declined to comment on the claims Tuesday, saying the agency hasn’t seen the lawsuit yet.

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Associated Press writer Brady McCombs contributed to this report.

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