Former safety coordinator says tragedy was preventable


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Could the death of a Maryland woman who was hit by a car at the airport have been prevented? A former airport safety coordinator says yes, and he says he warned the airport earlier that there was a problem. But airport management strongly disagrees.

The accident happened in July in the crosswalk linking Terminal 2 and the parking garage. Patricia Jordan, 65, died after being hit by an SUV. Police charged the driver, Evelini Kinikini, with misdemeanor negligent homicide.

Former safety coordinator says tragedy was preventable

Ian Shepherd, who coordinated employee safeguards and training, has resigned in protest over that accident. He says he warned about traffic danger in a safety meeting less than a week before the accident and has complained about double-parked cars and buses limiting visibility.

Shepherd says the area is poorly engineered, funneling pedestrians into an area with large numbers of cars and buses that often travel too fast.

Resignation letter
Resignation letter

Shepherd says, "I think they've dishonored her life by saying ‘Hey it was this driver that hit her,' when they knew damn well that there was engineering that was going to kill somebody."

But the airport spokeswoman, Barbara Gann, says 22 million passengers a year pass through there, and the road design is similar to other airports. She says the airport has a stellar safety record, and the area is well-marked by speed bumps, flashing lights and plenty of road paint. "It's a congested, heavily used area," she says. "And we have studied it. We continue to study it. It's a constant area of interest for us. We've used consultants, and it's one of the most highly marked crosswalks in the city."

Shepherd says crosswalks aren't the only safety problems at the airport. He says Terminal 1 doesn't have a sprinkling system; he says he has seen two near misses between airplanes and vehicles, and 4,000 gallons of fuel was dumped on the tarmac and went into the water supply.

The accident that killed Patricia Jordan happened around sundown, and the driver told police that impaired her vision. All of this, including Shepherd's allegations, is likely to come up at Kinikini's trial.

Former safety coordinator says tragedy was preventable

Ian Shepherd says airport officials are watching for him now, and they've put up posters.

"It says, 'Please contact airport control if you see this individual, Ian Shepherd,'" he said. The poster includes his picture. "It's horrifying," he added. Gann say the "wanted poster" was due to the nature of Shepherd's actions. She says it's a precautionary measure taken with disgruntled employees, and it's only posted in the office areas of the airport, not in public areas.

Shepherd is asking the city to create a panel to investigate.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com
E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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