- Mary Lambright, 23, made the 1880 historic bridge collapse on Christmas Day in Paoli, Indiana
- Iron bridge had a weight limit of six tons – her vehicle and trailer weighed about 60,000 pounds – or 30 tons – at crash
- Lambright told police she didn’t know how many pounds were in six tons
- No injuries, but the bridge collapsed under the weight and was destroyed
A historic iron bridge was destroyed when a 23-year woman drove her 30-ton trailer across it – because she got her math wrong and did not realize she was five times over the 6-ton weight limit.
Mary Lambright was attempting to haul a 53-foot box trailer containing 43,000 pounds of bottled water to a Walmart parking lot with her Volvo truck on Christmas Day in Paoli, Indiana.
She drove onto the iron 1880 structure and immediately hit the top of the bridge as her truck was too high. The structure then buckled the under the pressure and collapsed at around 12 noon.
Lambright, of Fredericksburg, told police she knew the iron bridge had a weight limit of six tons and wasn’t equipped for semis due to a sign that was posted, but said she didn’t know how many pounds were in six tons.
Lambright and her 17-year-old cousin who was in the passenger seat managed to escape unharmed.
‘She’s a very inexperienced driver,’ Paoli Police Chief Randy Sanders said of Lambright explaining that she had left the Amish order a year or so ago, reports Herald Times Online.
The Amish use nonmotorized modes of transportation so her experience could be limited to horse-and-buggy transportation.
Most Amish are not permitted to drive motor vehicles but are allowed to hire outsiders — known as ‘English’ — to drive them.
Sanders says Lambright, was an independent driver, hauling the bottled water in a leased truck from Penske for Louisville Logistics.
According to police, Lambright was attempting to make a delivery at a Walmart when she missed a turning, reports WBIW.
She said she tried to turn around in a parking lot, but it was not possible because there was equipment in the way.
She told police she did not feel confident in backing up the truck so she then attempted to cross the iron bridge.
Lambright was traveling more than 30 miles per hour in order to get the vehicle stuck that far on the bridge, according to police.
Police cited her for reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, a class B misdemeanor; disregarding a traffic control device, a class B infraction; and overweight on posted bridge.
She could be fined for the infractions and Louisville Logistics could also face legal action.
Lambright received her Commercial Drivers License (CDL) endorsement in May.
The French Lick Fire Department wrote on Facebook: ‘Bridge collapse in Paoli with no injuries reported.
‘What a sad day for the Old Iron Bridge located on South Gospel St.’
Although some Facebook commenters blamed the driver, many others blamed the school that certified her and the company that allowed her to get behind the wheel.
One person wrote: ‘I would look into the trucking school or trucking company that sponsored her training.
‘How do you go thru CDL school and get certified and not know the very basics of weight and/or the weight of even your empty truck and trailer which is still too heavy?’