Truck Driver Ignores Signs Banning Trucks and Limiting Weight and Destroys Indiana Historic Bridge . . . Faces $135 Fine

We often discuss the long-standing question in criminal law of the right balance between offenses and sanctions. A sanction needs to generally achieve restoration for victims and deter others in an ideal world. That does not appear to be the case in Paoli, Indiana where a historic bridge from 1880 collapsed after a track driver violated weight and access signs by driving her truck over the bridge. The sanction? A possible $135 for disregarding a posted sign. That’s it. In the meantime, the bridge will have to be replaced and traffic halted for weeks or months due to her incredibly reckless and thoughtless act. I am assuming that the trucking company can be sued for the damage to the bridge.

News reports indicate that the driver was 23-year-old Mary Lambright of Fredericksburg, Indiana who was driving with her 17-year-old cousin.  She was reportedly trying to park at a Walmart nearby.

The small Gospel Street Bridge was an example of an iron truss bridge built by the Cleveland Bridge and Iron Company of Ohio.

The bridge clearly bars trucks and limits weight to 6 tons. The driver took a semi-trailer filed bottles of water over the bridge — a total weight of 35 tons or roughly 600 percent over the limit. The pictures linked below also show that she had to have been moving as a considerable rate of speed at the time to peal back the top of the truck.

Just a $135 fine. This would seem a public safety question that warrants more significant sanctions, including possible criminal penalties. Looking at the bridge at the link below, it is hard to believe that anyone would think that a truck could make it over structure.

What do you think the sanction should be in such a case? Should there be a criminal element to the punishment?

Source: WDRB

53 thoughts on “Truck Driver Ignores Signs Banning Trucks and Limiting Weight and Destroys Indiana Historic Bridge . . . Faces $135 Fine”

  1. Why isn’t it illegal to carry water? Any good filtration system can convert local water to store water. Obviosly this place had local water to be filtered.
    If producers can’t give country of origin or lables on food gmo non gmo etc….why can they for water? Where is the commerce clause, doormat comnerce klaws, usda, fda, or epa? Wto? A truck full of water ….for the local walmart busts the local bridge. Over water. Either quit being yuppies for bottled water or clean up your water supply. Moreover the water your bringing is probably filtered….ya know filter out the tampax. From some other towns waste water. Morons.

  2. Sorry Glenn. What is this right wing, left wing B.S.? Any thing with one wing is going down. Don’t you get it yet?

  3. We here in Indiana, can’t tell the damaged bridge from the ones Our right-wing Governor has fixed already, oh, thats right he refuses to fix anything….

  4. Barkindog ” We need to spend money on our infrastructure and not on bridges in Afghanistan. ” The Trumpster talks a lot about our crumbling infrastructure and how superlative China’s is. We’ve paid enough for it. They keep trying and trying to bring him down and the number of his supporters keeps going up and up. That leaves them few options and don’t be fooled; ALL options are on the table. In Trumps words “This wasn’t supposed to happen.” All candidates since Kennedy are bought so what to do with one who can’t be bought? If all else fails they will simply have him MURDERED outright or Breitbart him. I’m thinking that will be just fine and dandy with the many nice people who hate him with a burning passion.


  5. Dust Bunny Queen
    1, December 28, 2015 at 10:34 am
    She should be charged with criminal reckless driving and have to pay for the bridge and compensate the city for the time the bridge was out of service. She also should have her CDL suspended until she can demonstrate having learned from this experience. This was a really small bridge.

    100% agree with David!!!

    In addition to compensating the city, she should have to compensate every single citizen that is being inconvenienced and put into actual danger by her destruction of the bridge.
    Sure, after we make Chris Christie pay for the bridgegate…then make the too big to fail banks pay for tanking the economy…and make our elected officials pay for taking us to an illegal war that ruined the country and caused the ongoing death of thousands of soldiers… then make GMC pay for the deficient parts knowingly used in their cars which caused some preventable deaths…

    She should not be held responsibly personally for something her insurance should be handling. That simple.

  6. Now CNN is talking about Bill Clinton and Monica. CNN is a schlong network. They have a long way to go.

  7. CNN and Fox News are both obsessed with the Trumpster and this election which is off on the horizon. Tonight CNN is spending hours on the Trumpster. Nothing about this bridge or other topics. Roads and bridges is not a campaign topic of any candidate except Hillary. We need to spend money on our infrastructure and not on bridges in Afghanistan. Not on more nuclear submarines. Too many G.I.s spoil the broth. End defense spending as we know it.

  8. Jerry:

    You would think so, right? Eternal construction projects are typical for CA mismanagement. I recall the same stretch of freeway in Santa Barbara was under construction for about a decade, bottlenecking traffic. Our roads are also some of the worst potholed roads in the nation. That’s one of the reasons why I’m bitter about the vacation train to SF. We never have the money to fix our roads, or expand lanes so that people don’t languish on freeways, but we have $65 billion to throw away on a money losing vacation train.


    That’s just sad. I assume that the pounds to tons conversion was on the CDL test, since it’s vital to understanding weight limits. It sounds like she didn’t know how tall her rig was, either, and that she was unprepared to be a driver.

    Darren: I always enjoy your posts on law enforcement issues, especially. I wonder if an historic bridge would have depreciation, or would it be worth more than a modern bridge, because it is irreplaceable.

    1. Karen – the bridge has a historic value and an actual value. The question will be which will the defendant have to pay. Just as a gold coin has a numismatic value and a gold value.

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