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Truck driver cited for damage to bridge

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    CONTRIBUTED A bridge with a posted limit of 5 tons on Crooked Creek Road is closed after a truck weighing an estimated 40 tons crossed.

A bridge on Crooked Creek Road is now closed for an indefinite period of time after being severely damaged by an overweight vehicle. The driver of that vehicle was located by Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

On Sept. 1, the sheriff’s office received a call from the Putnam County Public Works supervisor, who reported an unknown person drove a vehicle across the bridge on the dirt portion of Crooked Creek Road where it crosses over Crooked Creek, and the vehicle severely damaged the bridge, according to a PCSO incident report by Sgt. Jeffrey Duncan, deputies Michael Long and Terrell Abernathy, and Sgt. Jim Barbee, who each assisted in the investigation.

The supervisor reportedly estimated the bridge damage repair cost to be $70,000 or more. Tracks in the dirt revealed the vehicle had a tandem axle and it came onto Crooked Creek Road from Pea Ridge Road, and after crossing the bridge, it turned onto Pinkerton Road.

After talking to four witnesses, deputy Long located a Pittman Construction crew and spoke with the supervisor, who reportedly told him an employee had brought an asphalt grinder to the job site. The construction supervisor said he did not know the truck had damaged the bridge, but said the driver had told him that GPS had taken him the wrong way and he needed a mechanic. The mechanic had to repair the brake airline on the lowboy trailer that was being pulled by a 2015 Kenworth T880 cab truck.

Long then located the employee/truck driver working on Pinkerton Road, Mervynn Tripp, age 44. Tripp reportedly told Long that he was driving the truck and hauling the asphalt grinder to the job site, and his GPS took him down Crooked Creek Road. Tripp said he saw the 5 ton limit sign on the bridge, but he was unable to turn around so he went across the bridge. Tripp said he did not realize he had damaged the bridge.

Tripp said the gross weight of the truck, trailer and asphalt grinder was about 80,000 pounds. Dep. Long issued him a citation for Weight of Vehicle and Load on a bridge (O.C.G.A. 32-6-26(h)).

Crooked Creek Road is closed from 609 Crooked Creek Road to Pinkerton Road until further notice, according to a notice from Putnam County Public Works.