Lawsuit Over Pedestrian Killed Because Of Malfunctioning Street Lights Settled

A settlement was reached on October 14 by the family of 60-year-old Earnest White Jr., a man from who died from the personal injuries he sustained from a pedestrian accident where two vehicles hit him. In April of 2007, Willie White, Earnest White’s wife, filed a suit against the city, alleging that the street lights in that section of road were malfunctioning.


The incident occurred at approximately 7PM on November 16, 2005, two months after Southeast Texas had been devastated by Hurricane Rita, leaving thousands of street lights, stop signs, and traffic lights broken or damaged. According to a report from the Beaumont Police Department attached to the original lawsuit, all of the area’s street lights were not functioning.

Jefferson County, Texas and Entergy were also named as defendants on the grounds that the city, county, and electric company were negligent for failure to maintain the lighting, impairing visibility, which resulted in White being struck by the two vehicles.

Jefferson County settled on July 17. Entergy settled on August 13. The settlement amounts were not disclosed. The two drivers, Patrick Heald and Keili Peterman, were also named has defendants and are still parties in the suit. They are accused of negligence for failure to keep a proper lookout. White’s wife and three children seek survival damages, loss of inheritance, and mental anguish.

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