Driver of overweight big rig nabbed in Vt.
MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles said Friday a trucker carrying part of a giant crane to a state bridge job had too much weight on his rig and too much alcohol in his system.
DMV personnel at a weigh-in station on Interstate 89 northbound in Colchester found the truck had a gross weight of nearly 154,000 pounds, when it was permitted for 148,000. The rig was on its way to a project in which contractors for the state Agency of Transportation are replacing the north-and southbound bridges on I-89 over the Lamoille River in Milton.
Any truck weighing more than 80,000 pounds requires a special permit to travel on Vermont’s highways. A "superload" like the one involved in this case required -- but lacked -- an engineering study to ensure it wouldn’t harm Vermont’s infrastructure, officials said.
While speaking with the driver, Richard Charles Thompson, 34, of Delaware City, Delaware, DMV inspector John Federico said he detected the smell of "intoxicants" on Thompson, the DMV said in a statement.
A preliminary breath test during the Wednesday morning stop found Thompson had a blood-alcohol count above 0.04, the limit for commercial truck drivers. Thompson "advised he had consumed beers the previous evening and stopped drinking at about 2 a.m.," the DMV said. A later test at the Colchester Police station found Thompson below the 0.04 limit, but the DMV said it had "sufficient evidence to relate back impairment during the time of operation."
Thompson faces a civil fine of $784 and the truck’s owner, Philadelphia-based Elliott-Lewis Corp., will be fined more than $13,000, the DMV said.
A working phone number could not be found for Thompson in Delaware City.
Robert Sautter, who identified himself as the owner of Elliott-Lewis, said Thompson had lost his job as a result of the incident. "The driver has definitely made some serious mistakes and he is no longer employed here," Sautter said.
But he called the fine for the oversized load "excessive." He added, "According to (a) brochure of the crane, we had followed the weight limit, but something was added or changed to it."
Of the fine, he said, "We’re probably going to appeal it."
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