A year after settlement was reached with the City of Omaha and the State
of Nebraska in the tragic
motor vehicle death of Alicia Rea, 24, the positive effects of her legacy continue.
Alicia Rea lost her life when her vehicle collided with a City work vehicle
on State Hwy 64 in Omaha.
Under state law, wrongful death lawsuits can only recover monetary damages.
There is no mechanism to force change in policies or procedures. However,
in rare instances, such as the Rea case,
Domina Law Group was able to negotiate substantive changes in City policies,
procedures and training programs.
“It was vital to the Rea family that Alicia’s passion and care
for other live on. We were able to accomplish this in some small way by
negotiating changes that now keep the roads safer for everyone,”
says Brian Jorde, lawyer for the Rea family.
In addition to these changes, the City and State paid $300,000 to Ms. Rea’s family.
The City has been working on the items agreed to in the Rea
wrongful death lawsuit settlement and in the past year has done the following.
Annual Training – The Alicia Marie Rea Training Program – Zero
Accidents – Zero Deaths
The City Human Resources Department, Safety and Training Division, has
been carrying this out in 3 phases:
- For the first phase, the Safety and Training Division made presentations
to upper management and supervisors in the Public Works and. Parks Departments.
The presentation included an outline of Manual on Uniform Traffic Control
Devices (MUTCD), Chapter 6, and the Rea Consent Decree.
- For the second phase, on May 20, 2015, the City hosted a temporary traffic
control plan development workshop with grant funding from the federal
highway administration. Wayne State University's College of Engineering
developed and presented the workshop. It was presented to those City managers
and direct supervisors who are directly supervising employees who would
be required to ensure work zones are properly established. In this workshop,
managers and supervisors were directed and trained on the use of a temporary
traffic control plan software application, which will serve as a resource
to ensure that work zones are set up properly. Another follow-up training
workshop has been scheduled for November 2015.
- For the third phase, the Safety and Training Division, with assistance
from the Nebraska Local Technical Assistance Program, has sponsored annual
training sessions for all field workers, which were held October 19-22
and 26, 2015. Changes have also been made in hire training, focusing on
work zone safety. The City is also working on revised manuals to govern
highway work zone safety.
High-Intensity Flashing Lights on New Trucks on Arterial Streets
All newly purchased trucks have high-intensity flashing lights to better
warn and alert drivers and protect workers.
Retrofit High-Intensity Flashing Lights on Trucks in Mobile Operation Activities
on Arterial Streets
Mobile operation activities are primarily conducted by the City Street
Maintenance Division, which has 140 pieces of equipment used in mobile
operations. Retrofitting to this date has resulted in 116 of these pieces
being equipped with the upgraded high-intensity flashing lights. Those
pieces that have not yet been retrofitted are limited to the lower capacity
streets. Similarly, the City Sewer Maintenance Division has retrofitted
11 of its vehicles and has 6 left to do, although its trucks are not primarily
involved in mobile operations.
Update on Repair Procedures
In December of 2014, the City hired an individual with highway work zone
safety experience with the State of Nebraska. As noted above, he is currently
revising work zone safety procedures. The broadened scope of this project
has required an extended time period, with the expectation of a more comprehensive
Consult With Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR)
The City has hired an individual from the State with experience in this
field and is working on a draft of the revised manual specifically concerning
state highway mobile operations.