Trucker sentenced for damaging covered bridge
December 21, 2012 4:06PM
Updated: December 21, 2012 11:53PM
AUBURN (AP) — A truck driver from Illinois has been sentenced to 180 days in jail for badly damaging a 140-year-old wooden covered bridge in northeastern Indiana by driving a too-tall semitrailer through it.
A DeKalb County judge ordered the sentence Thursday for 47-year-old Gerard Hudson of Waukegan, Ill., who pleaded guilty last week to a felony charge of criminal mischief, The Star of Auburn reported.
Police said Hudson told officers his rig’s GPS device had directed him to cross the one-lane Spencerville Covered Bridge when he drove through it in September.
“I’m sorry about hitting the bridge,” Hudson told the judge during Thursday’s hearing. “I didn’t mean for that to happen. I guess I was fatigued from being on the road for so many days.”
The bridge in a rural area about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne was closed after the semi tore down several 6-by-6-inch crossbeams and roof trusses and destroyed its east approach sign and facade. County officials expect repairs to cost more than $100,000.
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Kevin Wallace also ordered Hudson to pay any restitution for bridge damage not covered by the insurance of Hudson’s employer or by DeKalb County’s insurance provider.
Wallace said Hudson could complete his sentence and be released from jail in the coming days on good-time credit since he’s been jailed since his arrest after the Sept. 26 crash. Hudson will be on probation for 18 months, after which Wallace said he would consider reducing the felony conviction to a misdemeanor if Hudson remains out of legal trouble.