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$8.2 million settlement reached after woman fell from West Palm Beach drawbridge

WEST PALM BEACH, Fl– The family of a 79-year-old woman who died after a drawbridge operator opened the bridge while she was still on it, has reached a settlement.
The West Palm Beach law firm representing the victim’s family announced the $8.2 million settlement against Florida Drawbridges Inc., (FDI) and the bridge tender on Friday.
Attorney Lance Ivey who is representing the family called the settlement “one of the largest wrongful death settlements of its kind.”
Carol Wright died on February 6th when the Royal Park Bridge began to open as she walked her bike across it.
Investigators say Wright was 10 feet from the end of the bridge when she fell to her death through a gap in the road.
The bridge tender, 43-year-old Artissua Lafaye Paulk, told authorities that she checked the bridge before raising it, however, it was determined that Paulk did not follow company policy in regards to raising the bridge.
Paulk was arrested in March and is now facing one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence.
In addition to the monetary part of the settlement, beginning on July 1, 2022, FDI bridge tenders will be subject to criminal background checks, FDI has agreed to schedule recertification training with all of their current bridge tenders, periodic quality audits with out-of-area supervisors, all bridge tenders required to watch a 23-minutes video on Wright’s life.