The family of Earnest White Jr., a 60-year-old Beaumont man who was killed as he tried to cross Cardinal Drive on foot, settled a lawsuit against the city of Beaumont on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
As reported by the Southeast Texas Record in April 2007, Ernest's wife, Willie White, filed a lawsuit claiming the street lights in that section of road were malfunctioning. Earnest White was run over by two separate vehicles near the 2100 block of Cardinal Drive.
The incident occurred around 7 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2005, two months after Hurricane Rita devastated Southeast Texas and left thousands of street lights, stop signs and traffic lights broken or damaged.
A report from the Beaumont Police Department attached to the original lawsuit suit indicated all the street lights in the area were inoperable.
The suit also faulted defendants Jefferson County and Entergy, arguing the city, county and electric company were negligent for not maintaining the lighting, which impaired visibility and resulted in the two vehicles striking White.
Both Jefferson County and Entergy have already settled. The county was settled July 17; Entergy did so Aug. 13.
Patrick Heald and Keili Peterman, the drivers of the vehicles that struck White, were also named as defendants and are still parties in the suit.
The suit faults the drivers for negligently failing to keep a proper lookout.
Settlement amounts were not disclosed.
White's wife and three children are suing for survival damages, loss of inheritance and mental anguish.
They are represented by attorney Brian Sutton.
Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd Judicial District is presiding over the case.
Case No. E179-038