Settlement Reached On Crumpled Bridge On County Road 821

You may recall the incident that occurred out on County Road 821 on February 21, 2018.

Our report at the time entitled ‘30 Ton Big Rig Crumples 3 Ton Bridge On County Road 821‘ described how deputies with the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office shut down County Road 821 in the Trimble Community around 7:45 pm on that Wednesday evening.

Deputies worked a motor vehicle accident citing a partial collapse of the County Road 821 bridge that spans beautiful Rock Creek.

The mishap worked by Deputies was no ordinary accident. The incident involved a 53 foot Dollar General (DG) 18-wheeler with a significantly loaded merchandise box trailer. The entire weight of the 18-heeler and cargo was roughly 30 tons.

According to emergency responders at the scene, the driver of the big DG rig was departing that store bound for the DG in Jones Chapel. Unfortunately, his Global Positioning System (GPS) provided some catastrophically poor directions.

With the GPS directing the big rig driver down the lightly traveled gravel of County Road 821, he was in short order faced with attempting a sharp left turn and then crossing the 3-ton rated bridge.

The decision to proceed – in hindsight – turned out to be regrettable, legalistically entangled, and costly.

Since that fateful incident in February, Cullman County Attorney Chad Floyd has been working to achieve a settlement with the Werner Enterprises and the big rig operator, Dontie Latray Huff.

Floyd’s goal during the months of post-incident negotiations has been to secure – at a minimum – the repair cost amount necessary to repair the damaged bridge.

(County 821 has remained close throughout this process due to safety concerns).

Two weeks ago, Floyd recommended to the Cullman County Commission that the county file a civil lawsuit against Werner and Huff. He cited an impasse between the parties with a proposed settlement amount on the table well below the necessary $188,742 needed to repair the bridge.

Since that time, Floyd – with the express approval of the Commission – proceeded with the lawsuit. This action rapidly changed the perception of Werner and Huff along with their insurance company. They agreed to settle the case at an amount of $188,742 with a ‘Property Damage Release’ granted today in a unanimous vote of the Cullman County Commission.

Settlement Reached On Crumpled Bridge On County Road 821

After today’s meeting, Attorney Floyd had these thoughts:

‘The opposing parties were very far apart initially on a settlement amount. Months of discussion and negotiation did not bring us much closer. The county road department made a thorough assessment of precisely what it would cost – $188,742 – to repair the damaged bridge on County Road 821.

 

As a matter of public safety, we needed to secure at least that amount in any settlement. I appreciate very much the Chairman and Commissioners authorizing me to pursue a civil action.

 

That action proved instrumental in quickly bringing these matter to a close, and providing the necessary dollar amount for repairing the bridge.”

 

Settlement Reached On Crumpled Bridge On County Road 821

Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com.

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