FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – Just over a year ago, Lisa Smith, 37, was run over and killed at an intersection near her home in Sienna Plantation. Her family is now disputing the Fort Bend County district attorney's decision not to take the case before a grand jury. They are also using this tragedy to launch a larger initiative focused on road safety.
“I'm here because our family has questions,” said Smith’s sister, Gina Torry. “Unfortunately, my sister was hit, struck and dragged down the street and she died under a car in front (of) her young son.”
Torry lives in Minneapolis, but for the past year has spent much of her time at her sister's home helping her brother-in-law care for her 4- and 7-year-old nephews.
“I can't imagine what it would be like; we all have mothers. I can't imagine what it would be like to see my mother die in front of me,” Torry said.
In October of last year, Smith was walking her then-6-year-old son, Logan, to school. An SUV turning on to Nueces Creek from Sienna Ranch hit mother and son while they were in the crosswalk. Logan survived with a broken femur and shattered pelvis.
“He has been very brave, but he'll never be the same child. My other nephew, who was 3 at the time, will never be the same child. Our family will never be the same, our mother will never be the same, I'll never be the same, her friends will never be the same,” Torry said.
Torry has also been pushing the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office as to why the case has not been presented to a grand jury to determine if charges should be filed.
“We would like a fair hearing,” Torry said.
Just this month, District Attorney John Healey decided the case will not go before a grand jury.
“It would be improper for a prosecutor to bring this to a grand jury and pass the buck to a grand jury, because I do not believe this rises to the level of criminal negligence based upon case law that exists in Texas and the facts of this case," Healey told KPRC.
Healey and sheriff’s officials said the driver was recently cited with the Class C misdemeanor of failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. Smith's family has hired outside counsel to review the investigation and challenge Healey's decision.
“I believe that when you are the driver of a car, you have the responsibility to drive responsibly,” Torry said.
Torry also recently launched the Justice For Lisa campaign. More information on the campaign can be found here.
Part of the campaign includes a community meeting Monday in Sienna Plantation, aimed at pushing state and local law makers to make roads and neighborhoods streets safer.
The meeting will take place on Monday, Oct. 29 at Bean Here Coffee at 4340 Sienna Parkway, Suite 102, Missouri City, Texas from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.