Dallas’ Brooker Law and firm founder Chip Brooker have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners after a company employee killed two teenagers in a head-on collision while distracted by a pornographic video on his smartphone.
Mr. Brooker filed the lawsuit on February 12 in Dallas District Court on behalf of Patrick and Dalena Weaver of Weatherford, Texas, over the death of their son, Jonathan Weaver, who was 18. The filing was first reported by “CBS This Morning” in a national story.
The crash took place around 9:00 p.m. on April 25, 2019, in rural Glasscock County as Energy Transfer technician James Edward Darling was driving home in a company truck from its Rebel Natural Gas Plant in Garden City, Texas. At the same time, Jonathan was driving in the opposite direction with his friend, Mathew Swinney, 19, after they had gone bowling in nearby Big Spring, Texas.
An investigative report prepared by the Texas Highway Patrol concluded that Mr. Darling caused the wreck by failing to drive in a single lane. An eyewitness who was driving immediately behind Jonathan confirmed that Mr. Darling crossed the center line.
Investigators also concluded that Mr. Darling may have been distracted by the pornographic video. Paramedics who worked the scene reported that the video was still playing on a smartphone in Mr. Darling’s lap as they removed his body from Energy Transfer’s truck.
“Distracted driving has become a national epidemic, causing one in ten fatal crashes,” says Mr. Brooker. “Our loved ones will continue to die from senseless tragedies such as this one until billion-dollar companies like Energy Transfer proactively address distracted driving in their fleet vehicles. You shouldn’t be able to put for-profit vehicles on the road while turning a blind eye to distracted driving.”