"A Series of Miscalculations, Mistakes, and Errors"

The Washington State Department of Transportation filed a $17 million lawsuit to recoup the costs of response and repair after the May 2013 over-height-vehicle collision that caused a portion of the Skagit River Bridge on Interstate 5 to collapse.

The suit, filed in Skagit County Superior Court, names five responsible parties: the truck driver; his employer, Mullen Trucking LP; the pilot-car driver; pilot-car company G&T Crawlers Service; and the owner of the metal shed being transported, Saxon Energy Services.

Accident investigators cited the truck driver for negligent driving, stating the bridge collapse resulted from "a series of miscalculations, mistakes, and errors by the truck driver and his employer," including:

  • The truck driver did not know the accurate height of his oversized load, and received a permit for a load two inches lower than the one he carried.
  • The truck driver failed to research the route to ensure it could accommodate his over-height load.
  • The pilot-car driver was on the phone as she crossed the bridge and did not notify the truck driver of the height clearance pole striking the bridge. 
  • The truck driver was following the pilot car too closely and would not have been able to stop in time even if the pilot-car driver had notified him of the pole strikes. 
  • As owner of the shed that struck the bridge, Saxon Energy Services, also is financially responsible for the catastrophic damage caused by this collision, according to state law.