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Pilot-car driver in I-5 bridge collapse: It wasn’t my fault

SEATTLE — The pilot-car driver leading a truck that struck the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River, causing part of the span to collapse, said Wednesday she was “horrified when I saw what had happened,” but added that she is not at fault.

bridge4“I take my job and the responsibilities of my job very seriously,” pilot-car driver Tammy DeTray said in a statement. “I have never been involved in any sort of incident like what happened on the (May) 23rd.

“I was horrified when I saw what had happened.  I met with the State Patrol at the scene of the accident and cooperated with their investigation and answered every question that they asked.

“Since then, I’ve continued to cooperate with the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigation.

“As I’ve demonstrated to them, I had my indicator pole set above the clearance height for the truck and in compliance with the regulations for a pilot car. While I was talking with my husband using a hands-free device on a work-related matter at the time, I was in complete compliance with the law in doing so. At no time did the pole touch the bridge, and had it, I would have radioed that to the driver of the truck so that he could take the appropriate action.”

Irene Ruiz, the passenger in a car driven by her husband that barely made it over the bridge before the collapse, said in an interview earlier that once they were on the other side, she checked on the driver behind the wheel of the pilot car.

“She had her hands to her face,” Irene said. “She was very upset. I said, are you OK? She said, ‘They’re going to kill me. It’s my fault, I should have told him to get to the center.’”

1 Comment

  • Michele

    Maybe she should have told the driver that, maybe it was hindsight, either way thank God no one died. She could not have known that the hit would have caused that section to fall into the water.

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