Family sues after pregnant daughter drowns

FORT WORTH -- For some families, it's a spot to make memories.

"Not too many places you can go fishing with your grandkid," said Noe Cavazos.

For others, it's a spot that brings back memories of the worst kind.

"Either it shouldn't be accessible, or they need to make it safe," Sharkara Johnson told News 8 back in 2013.

Johnson's 19-year-old daughter, Brandy, who was five months pregnant at the time, slipped and fell off a low water dam in the Trinity River on January 16, 2013. She was running late for a job interview on the other side of the river and slipped at a spot where a few inches of water rush over the dam through a chute cut out for kayakers.

There are other crossings like it in this popular area. After Brandy's death, there were calls to improve the signage in the area to more clearly warn people of the danger. That did eventually happen.

But in a just-filed lawsuit, the Johnson family now alleges the Tarrant Regional Water District should've done more before her death, considering Brandy Johnson was the third person to drown in the same area over a three-year period.

The lawsuit points to a News 8 story from 2012, in which TRWD spokesman Chad Lorance said the agency was moving to put in more signage.

"There are inherent dangers around any body of water," he said in the story.

But the lawsuit says additional signs never were put up. It asks for a jury trial, alleging the TRWD "needlessly endangered the general public."

The TRWD said comment on the suit would have to wait until next week.

Folks fishing Friday where the drowning took place didn't know the fatal backstories. Noe Cavazos of Fort Worth was surprised more obvious signs still don't exist.

"You can't read it from the top of the hill," he said.

The Johnson family attorney wasn't available for comment, and the Johnson family did not return our calls for comment.


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