Trucker recuperating after fall from Tennessee bridge

| 3/20/2007

Authorities in Anderson County, TN, say a trucker is recuperating after surviving a 17-story fall earlier this month.

Bruce Culbreth, 47, of Rensselaer, IN, was headed north on Interstate 75 in Tennessee when his 2000 Volvo left the Clinch River Bridge south of Lake City at about 2 a.m. on March 6.

Culbreth's tractor fell into a river, where he was later rescued by Anderson County Rescue Squad members.

Two Tennesse television stations offered conflicting reports about Culbreth's fall, including WVLT-TV claiming on its Web site that the tractor fell 17 stories and WATE-TV reporting on its site that Culbreth dropped "two to three stories."

However, an Anderson County Sheriff's deputy confirmed to Land Line that Culbreth fell 17 stories. The deputy declined to allow his name to be published.

Culbreth was trapped in his truck cab for nearly three hours, and had to be lifted by a rescue squad by rope before being taken to an area hospital.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol report of the incident obtained by Land Line, Culbreth's truck swerved to the left on Interstate 75 as it headed north in Anderson County. The truck then hit the highway's guard rail, splitting the trailer in half.

The report didn't specify the length of Culbreth's fall, but stated that "a large" portion of the trailer continued northbound on the highway before it stopped in traffic lanes.

A woman that answered the phone at Culbreth's residence identified herself as Bruce Culbreth's wife and told Land Line that he was recuperating but wasn't ready to talk about the incident.

"It's too soon," she said.

- By Charlie Morasch, staff writer