HOUSTON – Texas lawmakers considered the Lisa Torry Smith Act on Tuesday, three-and-a-half years after Smith was hit and killed in a crosswalk in Missouri City while walking her son to school on his first day.
The 6-year-old kindergartner suffered a broken femur and shattered pelvis in the October 2017 incident.
The driver of the SUV that hit the Smiths was ticketed but not charged criminally and not indicted by a grand jury because the law didn’t allow it.
The Lisa Torry Smith Act would make it a Class A misdemeanor to hit someone in a crosswalk, and a “state jail felony” if the victim “suffered serious bodily injury.”
“We want to make sure that Lisa didn’t die in vain,” her sister, Gina Torry, said Tuesday in an interview. “That she isn’t just unavoidable carnage on the streets of Texas.”
Torry and Lisa’s former husband Elliot Smith, among others, have led the three-and-a-half-year battle to change the law.
Torry established a support group and a website.
Texas Republican Sen. Joan Huffman and Democratic House member Ron Reynolds sponsored the bills. Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan and DA Brian Middleton testified in support.
“Anybody that knew Lisa knew the dedication she had to family and friends. The time she spent helping other people. So we owe it to her,” Elliot Smith said.
“It has been a long time coming. These sort of crosswalk bills have existed in other states for many years, and still not yet in Texas,” Gina Torry said.
Next -- as long as the bill makes it out of the transportation committees in the house and senate -- the Lisa Torry Smith Act will go before the full House and Senate for a vote sometime in May before the end of the Legislative session.
The bill is currently scheduled to become law, pending approval, in September 2021.
Family members of Lisa Torry Smith encourage anyone in favor of the Act in her name to reach out to his or her Texas lawmaker to express that support.