Driver who crashed into historic bridge charged with felony

By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line staff writer | Monday, October 01, 2012

A tractor-trailer driver who drove his rig over a 139-year-old historic covered bridge and caused extensive damage says his GPS directed him to do so. Gerard Hudson, 46, of Waukegan, IL, has been charged with a Class D felony of criminal mischief.

The complaint also cites Hudson with driving a commercial motor vehicle while disqualified and a false report of driver’s record of duty status. 

Hudson drove a 1998 Volvo VN and empty trailer over the Spencerville covered bridge in De Kalb County, IN, on the afternoon of Sept. 26, according to the crash report. Hudson is a driver for J.F. Freight Company Inc. in Palatine, IL.

Hudson was driving east on County Road 68 near County Road 59 and entered the bridge even though the height limit was not tall enough to accommodate the semi, the report states. The truck struck the bridge’s entrance, but Hudson continued through the bridge, damaging “all of the roof supports and both ends of the bridge.”

Hudson told the De Kalb County sheriff’s officer that his GPS directed him to the bridge. Officer Gerald Kline told Land Line there is another bridge about 1,000 feet south that is visible from the covered bridge.

The height of the bridge is listed as 12.5 feet with a width of 15 feet, according to a website for the bridge. Built in 1873, the Spencerville covered bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The preliminary estimate to repair the bridge is $114,000. The bridge remains closed.

He remains in jail on $1,500 bail, according to police.

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