FIRST ON WITN: Driver Charged In Highway Overpass Crash

The state Highway Patrol has charged the driver of a dump truck, which caused major damage to a highway overpass in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

Claude Deas, Jr. of Rocky Point is charged with operating a vehicle in excess of 13.6 inches and damage to state property.

Troopers with the Motor Carrier Enforcement Division have placed his vehicle out of service because they say he did not properly prepare the vehicle for transport.

The dump truck was pulling a flatbed trailer with an excavator. The excavator hit the bridge underpass, damaging several I-beams.

Troopers say the bridge was actually 16.6 inches above the pavement, and they say Deas' rig was at least 17 feet tall.

Jacksonville police say the excavator boom caught the bridge's I-beams, ripping a portion of one I-beam off and sheared the bolts from other I-beams. The force of the crash pushed the excavator off the trailer.

Police say the truck was owned by Elite Construction & Grading of Rocky Point.


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Traffic is restricted to one lane at Camp Lejeune's main gate Wednesday.

An investigation is underway to see if the Highway 24 bridge overpass heading into Camp Lejeune has any structural damage after a dump truck hit it Tuesday ripping a portion of one I-beam off and shearing the bolts from other I-beams. The force of the crash pushed the excavator off the trailer.

Camp Lejeune says people coming on base are strongly encouraged to use the Sneads Ferry, Bear Creek, and Piney Green gates.


Three of the four lanes on an overpass at Camp Lejeune have reopened after a tall load struck it Tuesday morning.

The accident has shut down the Highway 24 overpass for most of the day as bridge engineers checked the damage.

Jacksonville police say around 6:10 a.m. a dump truck, pulling a flat bed with an excavator, hit the bridge overpass. The excavator boom caught the bridge's I-beams, ripping a portion of one I-beam off and sheared the bolts from other I-beams. The force of the crash pushed the excavator off the trailer.

Police say the truck was owned by Elite Construction & Grading of Rocky Point, and driven by Claude Deas, Jr., also of Rocky Point.

The D.O.T. says one of seven beams supporting the bridge deck was significantly damaged, while a piece of flange section from the bridge is missing. Division engineer Allen Poe says the damage will require extensive repairs to that beam.

No one was hurt in the accident.

The bridge carries traffic onto the base from Swansboro and points east, while it carries outbound traffic heading to Jacksonville. Poe says afternoon peak will be the problem as people leaving to base, heading to Jacksonville, will have to find an alternate route.

Several eastbound lanes of Highway 24 were also shut down so inspectors could access the damage.

The D.O.T. says 54,000 vehicles use the bridge every day.

Camp Lejeune says outgoing traffic through the main gate is now reduced to one lane across the overpass to westbound Highway 24, and one lane to eastbound Hwy 24.

Workers at the base are highly encouraged to use the Snead's Ferry gate for southbound travel, Bear Creek gate for eastbound travel to Swansboro and Hubert areas, and the Piney Green gate for travel to the Jacksonville area.

Camp Lejeune says these restrictions will remain in place until further notice.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by SARS Location: Pitt County on Oct 15, 2009 at 06:05 AM
    To Anonymous @ 3:53 PM - Don't you get what WOWZER was saying? The story states that the bridge was 16.6 INCHES above the pavement and that the driver was charged with operating a vehicle in excess of 13.6 INCHES. To give you some perspective, a ruler is 12 INCHES. In other words, the only cars & trucks that meet this requirement are our kids toy vehicles! He was trying for a laugh but I guess it was lost on you!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 14, 2009 at 03:22 PM
    Was there a notice posted on the bridge to inform of height limitations? I don't remember ever seeing one but I never looked for one because I drive a small car.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 14, 2009 at 12:53 PM
    To WOWZER. Gosh, we should all be as perfect as you. Glad your not God. Bet you never made a mistake being perfect and all.
  • by WOWZER Location: Here on Oct 14, 2009 at 11:44 AM
    The driver should have his license revoked permanently...if he couldn't tell that his 17 foot tall rig wouldn't go under a 16.6 INCH bridge, he has no business behind the wheel...I knew they want us to drive smaller vehicles, but this is an outrage!!!
  • by John Y Location: Richlands on Oct 14, 2009 at 03:55 AM
    Well at least we can look forward to the new gate getting put in. Just have to deal with things until then. Life goes on.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 13, 2009 at 01:20 PM
    thank god i live in hubert :)
  • by Anonymous Location: Jacksonville on Oct 13, 2009 at 12:49 PM
    OMG! let the 3 hour commute off base BEGIN, Its going to be longer than just today if structural damage to the bridge is severe...more like weeks, maybe even a month of crappy traffic.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM
    Thank God noone was hurt. As for the traffic, it is bad enough in Jacksonville on any given day. Today will be a nightmare.
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