Drivers who hit someone in a crosswalk in Texas could now face prison time, thanks to new law named after Fort Bend County woman

The new law goes into effect in September
The new law goes into effect in September

HOUSTON – Not many days after Lisa Torry Smith died in 2017, after family members learned it was not a crime in Texas to drive into someone in a crosswalk, they decided the law needed to change.

About four years later, a new Texas law in her name will go into effect, which makes it a crime, punishable by fines and up to two years in prison, to hit and cause injury to a person in a crosswalk.

“We worked really hard on this, and it was the right thing to do,” said Smith’s mother, Elaine Brooks, in an interview. “The right people were put in our path to get it done.”

Newly-elected Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton wrote the bill and was instrumental in its passage, Brooks said. State Representative Ron Reynolds (D) and State Senator Joan Huffman (R) sponsored the bill.

On October 19, 2017, Smith was in a crosswalk in Missouri City, walking her 5-year-old son Logan to Kindergarten, when a female driver hit both of them with her SUV.

Smith died on the scene and Logan was seriously injured. The driver was ticketed, but not criminally charged, as the law did not allow it at the time.

After the bill’s passage this Spring, there was always a chance Gov. Abbott would not sign the legislation. Smith’s two boys, Owen and Logan, now six and nine, wrote Abbott a letter.

“In the ending of it, Logan said ‘I want you to please sign Lisa’s law to help all Texans,’” said Brooks, nearly in tears.

“I just know that (Abbott) actually signed that bill personally because he saw Logan’s letter,” she added. “At least, I like to think that.”

On Tuesday, Middleton, Reynolds, Huffman, Brooks, Smith’s husband, Elliot and others, including Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan, held a press conference to discuss the new law.

RELATED: State lawmakers pass Lisa Torry Smith Act after Missouri City mom killed in neighborhood crosswalk

The full press conference is below:

Fort Bend County authorities discuss the passage of the Lisa Torry Smith Act and what it means for the woman's family whom the act is named after.
Fort Bend County authorities discuss the passage of the Lisa Torry Smith Act and what it means for the woman's family whom the act is named after.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.