Skagit River Bridge Collapse: Truck Driver’s Statement and Bridge Reconstruction

Since the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in Mount Vernon last month that left Dan and Sally Sligh floating helplessly in the water with serious injuries, there have been a lot of questions about who is at fault and what could have possibly been done to prevent such a disaster.

Driver Claims Second Semi Truck Crowded Him

The driver of an oversized load – which was being transported for Mullen Trucking – was crossing the Skagit River Bridge on May 23 when one of the truck’s containers struck the truss structure on the right side of the bridge, resulting in the entire span of the bridge collapsing and falling into the water below. The driver’s load was reportedly standing at 15 feet, 9 inches while the lowest point of the bridge was listed at 14 feet, 8 inches.

Since the accident occurred, the driver made a statement to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that he felt “crowded” by another truck driving in the left-hand lane, and that because of that he moved his truck closer to the right-hand side of the road as he approached the bridge. To clarify, the right-hand side of the roadway is the side where the overhead structure is at its lowest point, which increased the truck’s chances of striking the structure.

NTSB Searching for Other Truck Driver

Upon learning about the reports of another vehicle possibly being a contributing factor to the semi truck accident that caused the Skagit River Bridge to collapse – which has reportedly come with a price tag of approximately $15 million – the NTSB has been looking to speak with the driver of the other truck.

“We want to find out what the [other] driver’s perspective was,” says Peter Knudson, spokesman of the NTSB. But Knudson says that at this point, officials have not been able to locate the vehicle or the person who was driving it.

Both semi trucks made it across the bridge safely after the Mullen truck struck the bridge, but two vehicles traveling behind the trucks fell into the water as the bridge collapsed. Multiple car accidents have been reported in the area as a result of the complicated detours that have been affecting the Mount Vernon area since the accident occurred.

Victims Injured in Skagit River Bridge Collapse

An interview with the driver of the pilot car – which was leading the way on the pre-designated route with a clearance pole designed to alert the driver of any clearance issues – found that the pole was set at 16 feet, 2 inches high. This suggests that there were perhaps several inches between the top of the clearance pole and the top of the truck’s load, which actually leaves more questions for investigators than answers.

An investigation into the exact circumstances and liabilities involved in this case could take months, and finding the driver of the other semi truck involved in the crash is likely one of the top priorities for the NTSB as of now. Officials are working to put a temporary span in place that would allow traffic to resume across the bridge as early as next week, but the full reconstruction of the bridge is a ways a way and will cost an estimated $15 million.

The Davis Law Group has been hired to represent Dan and Sally Sligh, the two people who suffered significant injuries after their vehicle plunged into the Skagit River during the incident. If anyone has information leading to the driver of the other vehicle that was reportedly involved in this accident, please let us know or contact the Washington State Patrol.

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