The Beacon News

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April 9, 2009

Almont man crashes through Hwy 200 bridge after warnings

After Knife River flooding caused unsafe structural damage to the Highway 200 bridge near the Boeckel Ranch east of Hazen, the bridge was barricaded off by officials and marked with large, bright orange and white striped signs, road closed and danger signs.

Regardless, on the evening of March 31 at around 8:30, the driver of a pickup truck heading south managed to end up front end down as he crashed through a large hole in the concrete deck that expanded across the entire southbound lane.

Brandon Gilbert, 24, was arrested that night for driving with a suspended driver’s license and spent the night in the Mercer County jail. Mercer County State’s Attorney Jim Johnson said in addition, Gilbert, now out on a $250 bond, has been charged with "Entering a Road Closed Due to Hazard Conditions," a moving violation with a $20 fine. No further charges are pending at this time.

Johnson said it appears that Gilbert moved the barricades and then moved them back again after he drove through them. He said law enforcement became aware of the crash after Gilbert was overheard talking about the incident when he stopped later in the evening at the Tesoro gas station in Hazen.

Gilbert apparently was alone at the time of the crash and was uninjured. Johnson said Gilbert would appear in Mercer County Court on April 8 for driver’s license charge, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail.

The Weather Network