Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 29, 2013

Police ID man who damaged bridge

Mark Maynard
The Independent

IRONTON — Police have identified a South Point man they say struck and damaged Ashland’s Ben Williamson Bridge, forcing its closure in late May.

Dennis J. Smith, 59, was cited in Ironton Municipal Court with failure to control and leaving the scene of a crash, according to a press release issued Friday by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Police said Smith was operating a 1987 Mack semi-tractor and trailer loaded with scrap metal at the time of the crash on May 17. He allegedly made a left turn onto the bridge southbound to Ashland and struck a bridge support beam off the right side of the roadway. The truck continued into Kentucky without stopping or reporting the crash, according to the press release.

The bridge was closed May 24 for safety reasons and the adjacent Simeon Willis Bridge converted to handle both northbound and southbound traffic.

Roughly 20,000 cars per day travel the Ben Williamson Bridge to downtown Ashland from Ohio. Repairs are expected to conclude by July 31, according to a spokesman from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 9 office.

Smith is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The investigation into the crash, coordinated by the Ironton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ashland Police Department, is ongoing.