Woman's family sues rodeo after golf cart accident left her in coma

August 5, 2013 6:37:59 PM PDT
A woman injured in a golf cart accident at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in February remains in a coma. But the family of Bonnie Herndon has now filed a personal injury lawsuit on her behalf.

Herndon was a rodeo volunteer for 30 years. She was head of the Western Art Committee. Now she's in a coma, suffering from a severe brain injury, with half a million dollars in medical bills. For her family, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will never be the same.

"I don't have anything personal against them," said Herndon's brother Jim Eubank. "It's just, maybe, how this deal was handled. And we just felt like we had to go to this step."

The family is suing the rodeo, a young volunteer and several golf cart companies following a terrible accident that left Herndon in a coma since February.

"We don't think she should suffer financially as well as suffering physically," Eubank said.

According to the lawsuit, Herndon was tossed from a golf cart after the Toby Keith concert the night of February 25.

Attorney Benny Agosto, Jr., said, "As the evidence will show and prove in this case, not only was the driver -- should've been trained and should've driven safely and prevented this from happening -- but the golf cart industry is going to be the number one evidence against the golf cart maker in this case."

Agosto says the golf cart Herndon rode in lacked safety features, like seatbelts or proper handles. Further, he says 15,000 people a year are thrown from dangerous golf carts nationwide -- a majority caused by sharp left turns.

"The industry standards call for some kind of safety restraint," he said. "It could be seatbelts, it could be hand-held restraints."

Rodeo COO Leroy Shafer wouldn't comment on the lawsuit, but issued the following statement: "At the advice of our legal counsel, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials and staff cannot comment on any issues regarding legal action filed on behalf of Yvonne 'Bonnie' Herndon against the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, other than to say that the petition involves a tragic accident that has deeply saddened and pained our organization. Bonnie is a member of our Show family. She is a longtime Show volunteer, a member of the Show's board of directors, and current chairman of our Western Art Committee. Our thoughts have been, and will continue to be, with Bonnie and her family."

The lawsuit claims include negligence and product liability. As for Herndon, her family says she has several surgeries ahead, but for now, she relies on a feeding tube.

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