Dummerston man, 23, charged with damaging covered bridge
By Susan Smallheer
Staff WRITER | April 03,2013
DUMMERSTON – A 23-year-old Dummerston man driving a sap gathering truck has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident after police say he drove a box truck into the historic West Dummerston Covered Bridge on Sunday.
William Miller was cited by Vermont State Police on Monday evening, according to a press release from Trooper Travis Valcourt. Miller never reported the accident and damage to the bridge, although the accident was witnessed by two people.
Valcourt said that Miller was driving a large moving truck which he was using to collect maple sap for his family’s sugaring operation.
Valcourt said he found the 24-foot damaged Budget rental truck on Miller Road on Monday in Dummerston and located Miller shortly thereafter. He said there was no sign of impaired operation. Miller was cited to appear in Brattleboro criminal court on May 7.
According to Valcourt, Miller didn’t realize his truck was too tall and tried to enter the bridge heading toward Route 30 on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Dummerston Select Board, said the town had received an estimate of about $5,000 to repair the 1872 bridge, which is the longest covered bridge in use in the state of Vermont. It crosses the West River, and connects the East West Road to Route 30.
Zeke Goodband said that one cross beam was broken and needed to be replaced, as well as siding on the bridge.
He said it was too soon to know whether the bridge would need to be closed for a day or so to allow for the repairs.
“Hopefully it will be covered by insurance,” said Goodband, who said he expected the town would know by today.
He said that many of the crossbeams on the top of the bridge showed scraping from the truck, but he said that the damage was minor.
“There was no real damage,” he said.
The bridge received about $300,000 in repairs last summer.
The bridge, which includes two spans totalling 280 feet, was built in 1872 at a cost of $7,777 after an earlier bridge was swept away in a flood. The town lattice truss bridge was built and designed by local bridge builder Caleb B. Lamson, according to its nominating papers in 1973, when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was extensively restored in 1998.