Omaha, NE.—An international garbage company, Mayor Jean Stothert’s pick to be Omaha’s next trash hauler, says a man who was backed over and killed by one of their trucks has no one to blame but himself.
(See Exclusive Video Below)
According to an extensive and exclusive investigation by News Channel Nebraska, FCC Environmental Services contends that the man, 73-year-old James Lear of Orlando, Florida who was walking his dog, was “guilty of negligence.”
A 25-page wrongful death lawsuit filed by James Lear’s widow, and uncovered by News Channel Nebraska claims that before James Lear was backed over and crushed to death “an appropriate investigation” by FCC would have shown that the driver “was not competent, safe and careful.”
The lawsuit goes on to state that FCC failed to “adequately…hire, retain, train, supervise” its employees and “dangerously operated garbage trucks in the Neighborhood…suddenly, inexplicably and without warning placing garbage trucks in reverse.”
While FCC admits the driver worked for them FCC denies any negligence by the driver and tries to turn the tables arguing “FCC would state James Lear was guilty of negligence.”
The lawsuit does not say how or why Lear was negligent and the company will only repeat an earlier comment to News Channel Nebraska stating, “…the fatality that occurred in Florida is still under investigation and we cannot comment at this time.”
But Lt. Kim Montes of the Florida State Patrol told an Orlando TV station: “The law requires the driver that’s backing up to make sure he does so in a safe manner, and in this case, he did not.”
By the way as News Channel Nebraska reported Lear’s death is one of a dozen FCC accidents, in Florida alone, during the past two years.
The accidents left seven people injured, one seriously.
The numbers came as a surprise to City Council President Ben Gray.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: The dozen number bothers you.
Ben Gray: A dozen in two years that should bother anybody. A dozen in two years many of them where there were injuries. One was a death. I think we should be concerned about that. I think we at least need to ask questions about it.
Gray adds he wants to know how FCC’s safety record stacks up against other firms.
News Channel Nebraska compared FCC’s Orlando records with the safety numbers from Minnesota-based West Central Sanitation, the low bidder for the Omaha contract which has been shut down by the mayor who argues WCS is too small to take on a city the size of Omaha.
Again FCC, which operates 96 garbage trucks and 93 drivers in and around Orlando, had 12 accidents there with seven injuries and one death during the last 24 months.
WSC, with 99 garbage trucks and 87 drivers in Minnesota, had six crashes in the past two years, with one injury and no fatalities.
According to the Mayor’s office, Stothert has been advised not to comment on litigation or potential litigation.
A spokesman for the city’s public works department says no information was made available to them by the bidders which would disqualify anybody due to safety.
The city council could vote on the FCC contract as early as Tuesday.