The attorney hired by the family of an elderly woman who fell to her death from the Royal Park drawbridge wants answers.
During a press conference on Monday, attorney Lance Ivey announced that the 79-year-old woman who fell to her death after a bridge opened was legally crossing the span adding that the bridge tender failed to visually inspect the walkway before opening the bridge. In addition, there are numerous cameras and mirrors available to the bridge operator for further inspection as well.
According to Ivey, Carol Wright was walking with her bicycle over the bridge that links West Palm Beach to the Town of Palm Beach “lawfully” earlier this month when the tragedy occurred.
He says the guards went down and trapped her on the bridge as it started to ascend. That’s when the woman grabbed onto the guard rail but unfortunately the 79-year old’s arms and hands gave way and she fell.
As the bridge ascended, Wright fell through a gap to the concrete below, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Ivey alleges the bridge tender was negligent.
Ivey believes the tender did not check at least three cameras and several mirrors that monitor the bridge, and did not physically come out onto the balcony of the bridge tower to perform a visual check to make sure there were no cars or pedestrians on the deck.
Ivey claimed the tender was supposed to do at least three balcony checks before raising the bridge.
“The failure to monitor the surveillance cameras, not look at the mirrors, and not come out of the bridge tender house — which is apparent — three times to do a visual to see who was there to be seen, including Carol, to me that would fall under anyone’s definition of negligence,” Ivey said. He went on to say that the operator also had an emergency stop mechanism available but failed to engage it while Carol was falling 20 feet away.
Ivey said it’s unclear if the bridge tender is back at work. The victim’s lawyers are urging Florida Drawbridges Inc. which employs the bridge tender to provide evidence that shows the operator followed the proper safety protocols.