MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- The Canadian trucking company involved in a Washington state bridge collapse says it received a state-issued permit to carry its oversized load across the bridge.
Initially, it wasn't clear if the bridge just gave way on its own. But at an overnight news conference, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste blamed it on a tractor-trailer carrying a tall load that hit an upper part of the span.
The trucking company involved says it received a state-issued permit to carry its oversized load across the bridge.
Ed Scherbinski is vice president of Mullen Trucking in Alberta. He said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Washington state Department of Transportation had approved of the company's plan to drive a piece of drilling equipment along Interstate 5 to Vancouver, Wash.
He also said the company hired a local escort to help navigate the route. He said the driver was well-experienced with handling oversized loads.
"This is what we do for a living. We pride ourselves in doing things the proper way," said Scherbinski.
Mike Allende, a state DOT spokesman, confirmed the truck had its permit.
"We're still trying to figure out why it hit the bridge," he said. "It's ultimately up to the trucking company to figure out whether it can get through. It's their responsibility to make sure the load they have can travel on that route."
Dave Chesson, a state DOT spokesman, said there were no signs leading up to the bridge warning about its clearance height. State records indicate a clearance height of 14 feet six inches.
The Washington State Patrol said the truck was carrying a large steel box that contained drill parts, and the box struck the bridge girders.
Scherbinski said company officials are as bewildered as everyone else. He said he's not sure whether the Mullen Trucking vehicle was the cause of the collapse, but the driver could see the bridge falling in his rearview mirror.