RICHMOND, Texas – Elliot Smith’s life was turned upside down on Oct. 19, 2017, when he lost the love of his life.
His wife, best friend and the mother of their two children was hit and killed by a vehicle while walking in a crosswalk with their son, Logan, who was 6 years old at the time.
“I drive by the intersection every day, and there’s not a time that I don’t drive by it that I don’t think about it,” Smith said.
Lisa Torry Smith, 37, died at the scene. Logan suffered several broken bones but survived.
“Lisa had a smile that would melt everybody’s heart,” said Lisa’s mother, Elaine Brooks. “She was 4 foot 9 and full of vinegar.”
The driver responsible for the incident was cited with failure to yield but never charged. It’s a case Smith claims never got the attention it deserved.
"The previous administration, the District Attorney had little interest in changing or presenting this to a grand jury,” Smith said.
That changed when the residents of Fort Bend County voted Brian Middleton as its new district attorney, he said.
KPRC 2 obtained this statement from Middleton about his involvement in the case:
"The previous administration declined to present the case to a grand jury. The family of Lisa Torry Smith asked our office to reevaluate the case. After a thorough review of the evidence in the case, an expert was retained to further evaluate the sufficiency of the evidence. The expert concluded that there was sufficient evidence to present a charge of criminally negligent homicide to a grand jury. Pursuant to that recommendation, the case was presented to a grand jury on Monday, November 18, 2019. The grand jury declined to indict the defendant.”
It isn’t the outcome Smith and his family were hoping for, but they said their fight for justice isn’t over.
“The silver lining is that everyone who knew Lisa, knew that she wouldn’t be concerned about herself but she would be concerned with protecting people in the future,” Smith said.
Smith said his new mission is to help others and prevent this from happening to other families.
“Our hope is that our fellow Texas citizens will be equally disturbed by this and get behind new legislation to cover a gap between a citation and a negligent homicide that needs to be proven by willful intent and impairment,” Smith said.
In his statement, Middleton expressed his willingness to help the Smith family by drafting that legislation.
“The circumstances of Lisa Torry Smith’s death were heartrending. Her death was completely avoidable and senseless. New legislation is needed to provide greater protection for pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, there should be heightened duties for drivers to be observant when driving in school zones, near pedestrian crosswalks, and bicycle paths. Further, there should be greater penalties for negligent drivers who cause the death of pedestrians. I will assist the Smith family in drafting proposed legislation to prevent tragedies like this from reoccurring."