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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