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Woman Charged With Collapsing Paoli Bridge Apologizes For Accident
Updated January 26, 2016 7:19 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(PAOLI) - Mary Lambright, the woman who drove a semi across the historical bridge in Paoli, apologized for her actions.

Lambright told WDRB that she was really tired and was on her way to celebrate Christmas with her family when the accident happened.

Lambright says when she crossed the bridge in downtown Paoli, she didn't realize her semi was too tall and too heavy to cross. The bridge collapsed under the weight of her semi.

"I made the mistake and I'm so very sorry it happened," she said.

Officials say the semi, leased to Penske for Louisville, was carrying 43,000 pounds of bottled water. Police say Lambright couldn't comprehend how much six tons was - the weight limit posted on the bridge. The tractor-trailer and load weighted more than 30 tons.

Lambright, 23, was arraigned in court Monday on a class B misdemeanor of reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, and was cited for disregarding a traffic control device, the signage on the bridge and traveling with an overweight load on a posted bridge. Lambright could face fines and 180 days in jail.

"This is my hometown and I just want to apologize to the community of what happened. It was a mistake," said Edward Lambright, Mary's husband.

The trucking company's insurance and the Orange County Commissioners are now trying to figure out who will cover the more $1 million in damages to the historic iron bridge.

Lambright's pre-trial hearing has been set for April 5.

According to police, Lambright was traveling on U.S. 150 East and was attempting to make a delivery at Walmart when she failed to turn north onto State Road 37. In an attempt to head north toward the store she turned north on South Gospel Street and then attempted to turn west onto Oak Street, but was unable to.

Lambright told police that she knew there was a parking lot north of South Gospel Street and thought she could turn the truck around in the lot and again make her way back to State Road 37. But there was equipment parked in the lot and she couldn't get turned around.

Lambright says she was uncomfortable backing up the semi and didn't think to call police or another driver for assistance so she attempted to cross the iron bridge.

Police say that Lambright was traveling more than 30 miles per hour in order to get the vehicle stuck that far on the bridge.

Once she started onto the bridge, the trailer got stuck, ripping about a third of the trailer top off. Then the weight of the vehicle made the bridge begin to collapse, pushing both sides of the bridge inward.

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