Jury awards millions in death of bridge worker

Two workers fell into the Brazos River while working on the pedestrian bridge that crosses to Baylor Stadium on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. One of the workers is still missing, while the second worker is being treated for hypothermia. Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor

Associated Press —The family of a construction worker drowned in the Brazos River in 2014 while helping build a Baylor University pedestrian bridge has been awarded almost $18 million by a Harris County jury.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reports jurors deliberated about six hours before returning its verdict against Austin Bridge and Road Co. for the death of Jose Dario Suarez. The family’s attorney had asked the jury for $27 million.

A message left with Austin Bridge and Road, the general contractor on the bridge contract, wasn’t returned.

Suarez drowned after a lift to which he and another worker were strapped rolled from a barge into the river.

The other worker eventually freed himself and swam to safety, but family attorneys alleged crews made no effort to rescue the workers.

The drowned victim was not found after the accident until later that evening. The other worker was taken to Providence Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

Baylor was a defendant in the original case, but was dismissed from the lawsuit in June.

The Lariat contributed to this report.