HOUSTON – A family lost a loving mother and devoted wife when she died from injuries sustained in a crash, something her loved ones say was entirely preventable.
The family filed a lawsuit Tuesday in a district court in Harris County against PJ Trailer Manufacturing Inc. The suit stems from a deadly car accident involving a tractor-trailer last year.
In the lawsuit the family claims if certain "safety regulations" were in place their relative would still be alive today.
Pictures show the mangled mess from the early morning crash on June 11, 2014, along Louetta and TC Jester in Spring. Kathryn Dodgen was driving to work in Houston when she slammed into a 40-foot flatdeck trailer.
"Her vehicle had gone underneath a trailer that was blocking all the lanes," said Dodgen's daughter, Lauren Bernard.
After suffering severe head trauma and undergoing two brain surgeries, Dodgen fell into a coma. She died 131 days after the crash. She was 54.
"Seeing my mom go through the pain and suffering she went through, I could never really describe it," Bernard said.
The lawsuit claims if the trailer had a "side under ride guard," their relative would still be alive.
"If there were a world full of Kathys, my mom, we'd be in a much better place," said Bernard.
"At minimum, the trailer industry has put their heads in the sands about the safety issues for decades," said attorney Stephen Fernelius.
In addition to monetary damages for pain and suffering, the hopes are the lawsuit also sends a message to trucking companies.
"Please make the effort and time to make everything safer for others. They can do it, and they have chosen not to," Bernard said.
Next up is a court date which has not been set.
KPRC 2 News contacted PJ Trailer Manufacturing, who said they can't comment on any pending litigation.