Harris County Mother Files Wrongful Death Suit Against CenterPoint Energy Over Deactivated Traffic Light

Every parent’s worst nightmare is the death of child. For one Harris County woman that nightmare became a reality when her 8-month-old daughter was killed in a car accident last month.

On May 29, at around 1:40 p.m., a Chevrolet pickup truck crashed into the side of a Chevrolet Suburban carrying 16 passengers at the intersection of Garret Road and East Sam Houston Parkway. The traffic light at the intersection had been deactivated while maintenance crews from CenterPoint Energy and Joslin Construction Company worked in the area. According to law enforcement officials, no stop signs were present nor were any signs were posted warning that the light was off and drivers should proceed with caution.

The Suburban had 12 children in the car. The 8 month old and a three-year-old girl were killed in the crash.

Investigators noted that neither of the children killed were in safety seats. But one attorney noted that the Texas law, which requires children to be restrained in child safety seats, does not apply when all seat belts or child safety seats in the vehicle are already occupied.

The mother of the 8-month-old girl has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against CenterPoint Energy and the construction company, claiming they were both responsible since the traffic light was out and no warning signs were posted.

The construction company said they have no involvement in the matter, as they were not responsible for the traffic signal’s failure. CenterPoint Energy has declined to comment.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Mother sues over infant’s death in NE Harris County crash,” 6/8/11.