Family of Poteet officer killed in suspected DWI crash files lawsuit against driver and bar

Family seeks more than $1 million in damages in civil suit

AUSTIN – The family of a Poteet police officer who was killed by a suspected drunk driver while working a contract job in Austin has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver that hit him and the bar that served the driver — and they’re seeking more than $1 million in damages.

Jeffrey Richardson, 35, was struck and killed on June 29 while working in the 11700 block of N Mopac Expressway.

Investigators identified the driver as Lindsay Smith, 26.

On Wednesday, Richardson’s family and their attorney held a press conference at the Travis County Civil Courthouse.

“We want to make certain that his death and the void that his passing has left in each of our lives doesn’t happen to your loved ones,” said Joe Richardson, brother of Jeffrey Richardson.

According to the search warrant affidavit for DWI testing after Smith’s arrest, Smith admitted to consuming two mixed drinks at a sushi restaurant, followed by two martinis at Lavaca Bar, two martinis and an unknown quantity of shots at Jack and Ginger’s before driving.

That affidavit states that Smith drove her Toyota through construction barricades and hit Richardson at such a high rate of speed that he was sent airborne and landed more than 100 feet away.

“Jeff was a family man, devoted husband, loving father, beloved son and brother. He loved endlessly. He was hardworking and would do anything for anyone at a moment’s notice. He didn’t deserve to lose his life in the manner that he did,” Joe Richardson said during Wednesday’s press conference.

The Richardson family attorney, Stephen Stewart, said Smith chose to drink and drive and said Jack and Ginger’s continued to serve her alcohol.

“Through this case, the Richardson family wants to make certain that alcohol-related crashes simply don’t happen. Through this case, the Richardson family wants to make certain that sellers and servers of alcoholic beverages do their job correctly,” Stewart said.

The attorney also said there are many options to safely get a ride. A message that’s especially important before the New Year’s holiday.

“There is simply no excuse for getting behind the wheel when one’s intoxicated, especially when doing so causes serious injuries, can kill innocent people and tragically impact the lives of victims forever as was the case with the Richardson family,” Stewart said.

Fox 7 in Austin said Smith’s attorney and the owner of Jack and Ginger’s said they could not comment on the case.

Court records show Smith was originally booked into the Travis County Jail on a charge of intoxication manslaughter causing the death of a peace officer, with a bond of $250,000.

Her bond was decreased with conditions that she not travel outside Travis County, have any contact with Richardson’s family, go into any bars or consume alcohol.

She has a pre-trial hearing set for January.

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.