Roxanne Freeman, whose husband and two children were killed in a vehicle crash while driving on a highway in Houston, has filed a lawsuit against Webber, a major road builder, for their negligence
The lawsuit stems from an accident that occurred along Beltway 8 near JFK Boulevard, south of Bush Intercontinental Airport, on July 21, 2017. Heywood Freeman entered the construction zone where Webber was widening the freeway. Traffic slowed down and eventually stopped completely. A driver in a Ford F-250 pickup slammed into the back of Freeman’s vehicle, crushing the sedan and setting off a chain reaction of crashes along the highway.
Witnesses told police that the pickup driver was driving above the speed limit when the accident occurred. However, it was later discovered that the driver was only going 60 mph, which is 5 mph below the normal speed limit on Beltway 8, but above the 45 mph construction work zone standard.
The Harris County district attorney’s office charged the pickup driver with criminally negligent homicide. A grand jury declined to act on the charges.
The lawsuit claims that Webber took dashcam videos showing all the required signs in place in the work zone. Weber submitted this late as evidence in its defense.
“The district attorney needs to investigate that and TxDOT needs to investigate that,” Freeman’s attorney Cade Bernsen said. “It is outrageous. The way they shut the highway down was messed up.”
The suit alleges that workers were seen attempting to install warning signs after the crash.
One officer reported that, “A worker from the construction zone attempted to put out a 48-inch-by-48-inch ‘FRWY CLOSED AHEAD’ sign on the right shoulder… the sign was one of the many signs listed in the TxDOT traffic control freeway closure plan… the sign that the construction worker attempted to place in the road should have been there prior to the freeway closure.”
Bernsen said the lawsuit is the only way to make companies handle road closures correctly.
“At the end of the day a father and two babies died,” he said. “That’s just sad, because it didn’t need to happen.”