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Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time

The truck driver who caused a historic Indiana bridge to collapse because she wasn’t sure how much six tons weighed has been sentenced to jail.

Indiana Judge R. Michael Cloud sentenced 24 year old truck driver Mary Lambright to the maximum sentence of 180 days behind bars. She was also ordered to pay $2000 to cover part of the costs of the bridge inspection once construction on the new structure is completed.

The bridge collapsed over a year ago as Lambright was hauling 43,000 pounds of bottled water through Paoli, Indiana, on Christmas Day in 2015.

Lambright told police she was headed to Walmart to park her truck but missed her exit. After making several turns, she entered a parking lot to turn her truck around to try to get back to the Walmart. The parking lot she turned into was too full for her to make the turn, so she drove onto the iron bridge that spans Lick Creek.

The bridge sheared the top of the trailer off while the weight of the truck collapsed the structure. Police believe that she was traveling at about 30 m.p.h. when she began crossing the bridge.

Lambright and her 17 year old female passenger were not injured.

Lambright told police that she saw signage about the bridge’s maximum 6 ton weight limit, but that she was not sure how many pounds made up 6 tons. The bridge had a no truck sign posted as well.

She also told police that she was uncomfortable backing her truck up, which was why she chose to drive it across the tiny bridge instead.

Lambright lost her job over the incident.

She pled guilty to charges of reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, disregarding a traffic control device, and overweight on posted bridge earlier this year.

“I’m really, really sorry about what happened and, if I could go back and do it over again, I wouldn’t be so stupid,” she told the court.
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Published by CDL Life News on April 12, 2017. Republished here with permission. See the original article at Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time.

Comments  (15)

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted May 4, 2017, by Margot

Good grief.. Even if it was understandable about the weight (which it's not), there should have been absolutely no problem figuring out what that big sign next to the weight limit was saying. Math isn't necessary to decipher a "no trucks" image.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 19, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Well spoken Matt.

Lack of training wasn't as prevalent here as lack of common sense.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 19, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

And for the English teachers on here, pardon the split infinitive in my previous comment. I must have slept through English class that day...

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 19, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Well said, Matt. This is definitely not a political issue.

You can design the best education system in the world, but as The Onion pointed out, schools are biased against students who don't give a (darn). Anybody with the qualifications to competently drive a truck would know that crossing this bridge would be a bad idea.

Truck Driving 101: When you get into a bind (ie, take a wrong turn, facing a restricted bridge, low overpass, etc), you call the authorities and have them stop traffic while you slowly back out.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 19, 2017, by Matt Lohry

As far as I'm concerned, it's silly to blame any educational system at all for a complete lack of common sense. It doesn't take more than half a brain cell to figure out that a 14-foot tall, 20+-ton truck is not going to be able to make it across a tiny steel bridge with a 6-ton load limit. This person should not be driving anything at all, let alone a commercial rig. She slept through her classes BEFORE Betsy DeVos or Donald Trump were part of the picture, so it's certainly not their doing that is the issue--these policies have been in place for many years, perpetuated by BOTH sides of the political spectrum, so I decline to place political blame toward any one side. Donkeys and elephants are equally at fault here. I do highly agree with Jason's suggestion to get properly educated, and to job shadow an experienced professional in preparation for driving a semi...it's a far cry from driving a car, and it's a vitally important industry that has and needs quality people.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 18, 2017, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

BTW, for anyone wishing to pursue a career as a semi-truck driver, instead of behaving like an amateur and always going by the pima-dauma of measurements, like this unintelligent lady did, do what my friend and former classmate did when he started his career as a truck driver: go to school, learn the trade, travel with a truck driver, and always go prepared. Here's an article I wrote about him and his trucking career last year to start things off:

http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2016/08/17/experience-...

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 18, 2017, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

The sentence is justified, but sadly, this incident really shows how completely messed up and medieval the US education system really is. And with Betsy DeVos at the helm, all fingers point to the end of the Department of Education and its long-standing federal guidelines and the beginning of the fragmented version of the US education system, where not even the basic core is taught. Incidents like this one should be used trump cards come 2018, showing the current US administration that we disapprove of the current policies and are dissatisfied with the way the education system is working.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 18, 2017, by george oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Should have a big 's' on her head for STUPID!

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 18, 2017, by Alan Walker (awalker1829 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Sad commentary on the state of education when someone doesn't know basic measures of weight. Six tons (US) is twelve thousand pounds.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 18, 2017, by Calvin Sneed (us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Drivers with 18-wheelers trying to drive across our elegant steel truss bridges that can't support the weight, sadly is not new. An 18-wheeler in the early 1960's led to the demise of the Eastman Road 4-span camelback Warren w/verticals truss bridge over the South Holston River in Kingsport, TN.. the driver made it across the first span, but the weight slowly dropped the second (channel) span into the river before he could clear it. The entire bridge was eventually taken out and not replaced. Fortunately, the next two-span Pratt bridge about 8 blocks away over a tributary on the same road still stands because he did not make it that far. That bridge is closed now and photographed as an historic ruin.

Make them and their companies pay for the bridge replacement. That might get everybody's attention.

These are also the same drivers who see the signs on how tall tunnel openings are, but still drive their trucks into them and wedge them tight.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 17, 2017, by Brandon Cooper

Here is a picture of the dingus who likes destroying beatuiful bridges in the name of stupidity. http://wdrb.images.worldnow.com/images/9727642_G.jpg

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 17, 2017, by Jared M.

That's what you get when trucking companies don't pay enough to attract competent people.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 16, 2017, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

It's significant that this didn't simply result in a fine.

Let's hope driving schools start making it a point to warn students about possible penalties for carelessly damaging infrastructure.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 16, 2017, by Brandon Cooper

It is easy. She must have come from Swift's training program that this is a passing grade to the teacher.

Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time
Posted April 16, 2017, by Steve Conro (sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com)

And they let people like this have a license to drive a potential 80,000 lb vehicle? I work at a lumber company that receives truck shipments daily and this is the state of the trucking industry these days. There people driving these things I wouldn't trust to mow my lawn let alone drive my truck.