A family is filing a lawsuit against Flying J after their father was struck and killed in a parking lot accident in Texas.
56-year-old Reginald “Reggie” Smithers was accidentally struck and killed on September 3rd, 2021 at the Flying J in Brookshire, Texas, and now the family has decided to sue over the tragedy.
According to ABC 13 News, Smithers was walking into the dark Flying J parking lot on the morning of September 3rd to catch a ride to work, as he did every morning. But this time, an unsuspecting truck driver accidentally struck Smithers as he turned his rig into the lot, unknowingly dragging Smithers 65 yards as he pulled into a fuel stall.
In surveillance video captured at the scene, the truck driver, Bobby Lee Calhoun Jr. got out to survey his truck after pulling into the stall, and that’s when he realized that something horrible had happened.
“I turned around and walked to the front of the truck and turned,” Calhoun explained to an officer in a videotaped statement. “He moaned and I said, ‘Oh my God. How did he get up under there?’ And I said, ‘Don’t move.'”
Calhoun then got back into his rig and put it into reverse to free Smithers, but Smithers died at the scene before paramedics could arrive.
“It’s as bad as anything I’ve seen in my life,” said Sean Tracey, an attorney for Smithers’ family. “He [Smithers] was alive. He knew what was happening to him.”
Calhoun was very cooperative during the police investigation, and officers do not believe that he was impaired at the time of the incident, so Smithers’ family is focusing on another issue – the dark truck stop parking lot that proved dangerous for their father.
Smithers’ family is now working to sue Flying J and Calhoun’s trucking company over what they see as dangerous parking lot conditions.
Sadly, Calhoun has passed away since the tragedy with Smithers, but even he commented on the dark parking lot during his interview with police.
“It’s dark in that area. It’s very dark,” he said.
“This 18-wheeler driver was handicapped by a lack of lighting in the parking lot,” said Tracey.
The family has received no response from Flying J’s Attorney or from the attorney of PBH Priority Express Corp., Calhoun’s trucking company also named in the lawsuit.
However, PBH has responded to the lawsuit filed with the Harris County District Clerk, saying that Smithers “failed to exercise that degree of care which an ordinary person would have exercised under same or similar circumstances” and that the company “generally denies” all allegations.
A light has been added to the Flying J entrance since the death of Smithers.
“I hope they get better lighting and put up some signs so it won’t happen again,” said Kristian Allen, Smithers’ daughter.
“I just want justice for my dad.”