Brazos Co. woman blames TDCJ for Galveston accident

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Mar. 18, 2013, 10:42am

GALVESTON - A Brazos County woman is suing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice over a two-vehicle accident which occurred in Galveston almost two years ago. 

Recent court papers filed March 12 in Galveston County District Court explain that Bryan resident Kimberly Gross was a passenger in a TDCJ vehicle that allegedly hit another vehicle while traveling on Broadway Boulevard on March 23, 2011.

According to the suit, the driver, TDCJ employee Sheila Denesa Reece, made a turn onto 51st Street when she struck Jose Morales Cruz Jr., who operated a vehicle belonging to Johnnie Lee Jr.

The original petition says that "driver inattention" caused Reece, who is not a defendant in the case, to collide with the side of the vehicle driven by Cruz.

Gross adds she suffered "serious, painful and disabling" bodily injuries and mental anguish as a result of the subject event.

The suit argues TDCJ committed negligence as Reece failed to:

  • Yield the right of way;

  • Keep a proper lookout;

  • Apply her brakes;

  • Turn her vehicle in an effort to avoid the aforementioned accident;

  • Drive above the regulated speed limit; and

  • Maintain a clear and reasonable distance.

The agency is also faulted for negligently entrusting one of its vehicles to Reece.

Consequently, the plaintiff sues for physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish and medical expenses.

She is represented by attorney Michael F. O'Connor of O'Connor & Associates in Bryan.

Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 13-CV-385

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