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Truck Driver Who Caused Paoli Bridge Damage Sentenced To 180 Days

Mary Lambright leaves court after her sentencing hearing.

The truck driver who severely damaged a historic Paoli bridge will spend at least 90 days in jail.

Mary Lambright drove a semi over the South Gospel Street bridge on Christmas Day 2015, causing it to collapse. Police say the bridge has a six-ton weight limit and the semi weighed more than 30 tons.

Lambright pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving and three infractions. During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, her attorney argued Lambright drove across the bridge because she was ignorant. She’d only recently started driving for the truck company when the accident occurred and was a member of the Amish community until three years ago.

But Orange County Judge Michael Cloud says Lambright was reckless, not negligent, when she drove over the bridge. He sentenced Lambright to the maximum 180 days in jail, but she could serve only half of that time with good behavior.

Cloud also suspended Lambright’s license for the next 180 days and ordered her to pay court costs. If her income level changes, she could have to pay additional restitution.

County commissioners say it will cost nearly $750,000 to repair the old iron bridge. The insurance company is covering most of those costs, but it won’t pay the more than $2,300 for a bridge inspection once construction is complete. Repairs are underway and the county hopes the bridge will reopen by August.

Lambright apologized to the judge and the residents of Orange County during her sentencing hearing. She called the accident a “terrible mistake.”

Lambright must surrender herself to the Orange County Jail by 8 a.m. April 19.

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