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Woman Who Destroyed Historic Paoli Bridge Pleads Guilty
Updated March 16, 2017 8:35 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(PAOLI) - Mary Lambright pleaded guilty on Tuesday to damaging the 17th century historic bridge in Paoli.

Lambright entered a blind plea of guilty to the reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, operating a vehicle over bridge, causeway or viaduct while weighing more than maximum weight, disregarding an official traffic control device, and operating a motor vehicle in violation of restriction.

She will be sentenced on April 12 at 1:30 p.m.

Lambright apologized for her actions, saying she was really tired and on her way home to celebrate Christmas with her family when the accident happened. Lambright says when she crossed the bridge that crosses Lick Creek in downtown Paoli, she didn't realize her semi was too tall and too heavy to cross.

"I made the mistake and I'm so very sorry it happened," she said in January 2016.

Officials say the semi 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 weighed more than 30 tons.

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. There was equipment parked in the lot and she could not 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.

Crews are making repairs, which are expected to be finished in July. in October, the Orange County commissioners signed a contract with CLR Inc. to make the estimated $748,875 in repairs. The trucking company's insurance carrier, Progressive, will pay for the repairs. The insurance company will not pay the cost of repainting portions of the bridge. That cost, estimated at $39,975 and will be paid by the county.



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