Drilling company settles suit
Reversing testimony, Pioneer truck driver admits infractions
Conflicting statements offered by a witness on the stand Thursday morning led to a stop in testimony and a settlement offer later in the day in a case involving a Cleburne woman’s death last year.
Attorneys representing Pioneer Drilling agreed to settle with the woman’s family for $16 million in the woman’s death after two large pieces of gas well equipment fell from a Pioneer tractor-trailer.
The family of Rhonda Kay Henson, 41, sued Pioneer and the truck’s driver, Daniel Armstrong, asserting negligence and a wrongful death claim.
The court’s acceptance of Pioneer’s settlement offer waives their right to appeal the amount, said Fort Worth attorney John David Hart, who represented the woman’s family.
The settlement came after three days of testimony in the 413th District Court.
One piece, known as a spreader bar, struck Henson’s truck and killed her. The accident occurred on Farm-toMarket Road 157 near Venus.
During testimony, Armstrong admitted to numerous driving infractions and said he was not aware of safety laws and regulations about securing and transporting large loads.
Armstrong discussed earlier driving infractions including tickets, accidents, license suspensions and a citation for driving under the influence by a minor.
Armstrong said he and other Pioneer officials falsified and back dated documents in his employee file after the Sept. 11 accident.
Armstrong admitted to having given conflicting testimony.
“So you’ve lied to this jury as we’ve been here today?” Hart said. “Why do you continue to lie while this family is here who have lost a loved one?”
“Yes, sir,” Hart said. “I do not know.”