New Texas law could send drivers who injure, kill pedestrians to prison

Family members of Lisa Torry Smith react to the passing of the Lisa Torry Smith Act
Family members of Lisa Torry Smith react to the passing of the act named in her memory. She was killed when struck by a vehicle when walking child to school.
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 10:01 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Lisa Torry Smith Act went into effect September 1 to protect pedestrians who are legally crossing at a crosswalk.

According to Texas Department of Transportation, this law, named in memory of a woman who was killed walking her child to school, allows inattentive drivers to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if they cause bodily harm to a pedestrian. And if the pedestrian is seriously injured, drivers may be found guilty of a state jail felony.

TxDOT said this bill aligns with their goal to have no pedestrian-related deaths by the year 2050.The law also protects pedestrians legally crossing on bicycles, wheelchairs, scooters, and other motorized devices.

Lisa Torry Smith’s widower, Elliot Smith, said the passing of the act brings the family relief.

“It took almost four years from the accident, in order to get through this whole entire complicated legal path. And gratitude because we had a lot of help along the way,” Smith said.

Sister Gina Torry said Lisa Torry Smith was struck and killed by a car while walking in a crosswalk, taking her six-year-old son to school in the Houston area in 2017.

“She was robbed of that joy of being alive,” Torry said. “And so we want to make sure that that joy of living, that right to life, is not taken away ever again. And we know that this bill won’t totally prevent that from happening, but hopefully it will ensure that there are consequences for anybody who takes a life in a crosswalk or injures a life in a crosswalk.”

“Her legacy through myself, and the children, and this law, and the rest of the family, is what we have,” Smith said. “And we plan on honoring that.”

You can read the text of the Lisa Torry Smith Act here.

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