by: Lee Stoll Updated:SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. —
A truck driver is blaming bad permits for putting him on a local bridge that should have collapsed right under the rig. The truck, hauling a power transformer, almost made it from Texas to Canada but it broke down on a Skagit county road in Mount Vernon. That's how state patrol learned the driver's directions were illegal. In order to get it off the road, the driver had to go through a roundabout—breaking street signs, and tearing up the concrete. State Patrol started writing tickets for more than $40,000 in fines. "This is the largest ticket I've ever seen," said Chris Baldwin with the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.
A few miles back, the damage could have been catastrophic. The driver crossed the bridge to Fir Island. The weight limit is 105,000 pounds. The truck is more than 232,000 pounds. "When I talked to one of the engineers at DOT this morning, he was surprised he didn't fall through it," said state trooper Ray Ensley
"Well, I just thank God I'm not in the water!" said the truck driver, Ken Green. Green said his employer, a Texas-based trucking company, uses a permit service for cross-country trips. Green had a permit for state roads like I-5. He showed us phone numbers for counties where he needed to get permits to use city and county roads to avoid low overpasses. There were no phone numbers for Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties so Green thought it was OK to use the side streets. State patrol says the truck would have been fine on the freeway.
KIRO 7 asked Green, "Do you think it's the permit company's fault?" "We think so, we're not sure but we think so," he answered.
WSDOT engineers will inspect the bridge for damage while Green waits for permits to drive through Whatcom County. It could leave him stranded for 10 days. "Somebody, something has malfunctioned somewhere," said Green. The $40,000 was issued to Green, not the trucking company. He has 15 days to pay it or contest it.