Truck driver disregards signs, destroys iron bridge in Paoli

The old iron bridge on South Gospel Street in Paoli was destroyed when a truck driver disregarded the weight and height and drove a load weighing over 43,000 lbs. over it Christmas Day.

According to police, Mary Lambright, 23, of Fredricksburg, Ind., was operating a 2015 Volvo tractor pulling a 53-foot semi-trailer loaded with bottled water when she crossed the bridge at about noon. Authorities estimated the load of water weighed around 43,000 lbs.

As Lambright’s truck entered the bridge, the trailer’s top was ripped off due to its height. She continued across the bridge until the weight of the tractor and trailer caused it to collapse.

Lambright and a 17-year-old passenger were able to exit the tractor and were unharmed.

Lambright told police she was attempting to drive the truck to the Wal-mart parking lot to park when she entered the Paoli square from East Main Street. She missed the exit to go to the Wal-mart and continued on West Main Street. She turned left on Southwest First Street and then turned onto South Gospel Street and had planned on turning left on South Oak Street but was unsuccessful.

After attempting the turn several times, Lambright decided to head to a parking lot on South Gospel Street where she knew she could turn the rig around to get back to Southwest First Street. When she got to the parking lot, she found that it was too full of heavy equipment for her to turn the tractor-trailer around. She continued on the street and attempted to cross the iron bridge.

Lambright told police she was aware of the posted 6-ton weight limit and the “No Semis” sign on the iron bridge. When asked why she drove the truck across the bridge, she told police that she didn’t know how many pounds 6 tons was.

Police advised her that her truck and trailer were close to 30 tons at the time of the crash.

Lambright told police she was uncomfortable backing the trailer up and had made the decision to cross the bridge instead of attempting to turn around.

Lambright received her Commercial Drivers License (CDL) endorsement May 12, 2015. She currently drives for Louisville Logistics out of Louisville, Kentucky.

The vehicle and trailer were hauled to Wilcox wrecker service out of Salem, Indiana and is being held pending an inspection by the Indiana State Police.

Authorities stated the bridge was built in 1880.

Paoli Police, Orange County Sheriff Department, Paoli Fire and Rescue, Paoli town employees, IU Health, Wilcox Wrecker Service, Hankins Corvette Sales, and Kendell Trucking assisted at the scene.

Lambright was cited 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.




  1. My guess is she no longer drives commercial vehicles of this type and combination, etc, and that authorities will be looking into the how, who and where she obtained her CDL with a ‘semi’ endorsement. This would be totally laughable if it weren’t so serious.

    1. There is no such thing as a “semi endorsement.” There is a Class A, B, and C. Commercial driving license needed to drive vehicles for hire. A driver needs a CDL if the vehicle meets one of the following definitions of a CMV: Class A truck. Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of 26,001 or more pounds (11,793 kg) provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds (4536 kg). Additional testing is required to obtain any of the following endorsements on the CDL. These can only be obtained after a CDL has been issued to the driver:
      T Semi trailer Double or Triple (Written Test) When a tractor tows 2 or 3 trailers at the same time.
      Certain states prohibit triple trailers statewide, such as California, Florida, and New York
      A Class A license is required to obtain the T endorsement
      P Passenger Vehicle (Written and Driving Tests)
      S School Bus (Written and Driving Test, Background Check, Sex Offender Registry Check and P endorsement)
      N Tank Truck (Written Test)
      H Hazardous materials (Written Test and Background Check through the Transportation Security Administration)
      X Combination of Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials (Written Test)
      W Tow truck. (Written Test)

  2. This person should be working for Obama. These are the kind of staff Obama has working in the White House.

    1. Obongo! Trump 2016!
      John thanks for sharing your ignorance!
      See you at the next tea party storm front bbq

    2. John Shevlin, thanks for pointing this out to the American public.
      It seems a portion of the American public don’t know this simple fact.

  3. Grandson? She is a 23 year old former Amish who had no business driving period, if you don’t know what a ton is AND you disregard signs AND you cannot operate the vehicle you’re licensed for. Funny thing is, the long trailers are the easiest to back up.

  4. No height restriction signing? The bridge was inspected and rated at 46 tons maximum. The weight did not destroy the bridge. Too tall.

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