Drilling com­pany set­tles suit

Rev­ers­ing tes­ti­mony, Pi­o­neer truck driver ad­mits in­frac­tions

The Dallas Morning News - - Metro -

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.”

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