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Truck mounted hydraulic lift causes bridge collapse

Two people were injured when a truck crashed into a railway bridge in northwest Atlanta on Tuesday morning, causing a huge chunk of concrete to fall onto the truck and another car below.

According to news reports, a 13-foot high truck was trying to clear the bridge, which is only 13 feet, 5 inches high, when a hydraulic lift attached on the truck hit the bridge. The impact caused a 25-foot section of the bridge, 12 inches thick, to collapse onto the truck, trapping the driver. The driver of another car was also hit by debris from the bridge collapse.The truck driver was charged with transporting an unsecure load, failure to obey a traffic control device, and collision of an object adjacent to the street.

This news story caught my eye for several reasons:

– Most of my law practice involves trucking accidents.

– One of the first truck crash cases I handled, about 25 years ago, involved defense of a company whose truck mounted crane raised up when it should not have, knocked the Windy Hill Bridge on I-75 over a couple of inches. GDOT tried to bill my client for the entire replacement bridge, until we discovered that GDOT had already contracted for a much larger replacement bridge before the accident happened.

– The location is extremely familiar to me. Having grown up in Douglasville in the days before completion of the Atlanta freeway system, Bolton Road was he most direct route to Buckhead when I started driving in the late 1960s. It has remained my occasional back route to get to my mom’s house in Douglas County.

Ken Shigley is president of the 42,000 member State Bar of Georgia, a Certified Civil Trial Attorney of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine) and among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend)

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