Couple hurt in Fern Hollow Bridge collapse suing Pittsburgh, PennDOT, Port Authority

PITTSBURGH — The couple hurt when their pickup truck crashed down with the Fern Hollow Bridge is suing the city of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

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Tyrone and Velva Perry, both 69, took a different route than usual on Jan. 28 because of snow and ended up on the bridge when it collapsed. They had been on their way to care for Tyrone’s 93-year-old mother.

While they have both been released from the hospital, the couple’s daughter told Channel 11 News they were each in the ICU for one day with fractured vertebrae. Attorneys said they are “now in body braces with impaired movement and extreme pain.”

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The Perrys’ attorneys said notices of intent to sue were sent on Wednesday.

“With no warning, the bridge collapsed, dropping the Perrys and the vehicle approximately 100 feet down into the hollow. Other vehicles fell off the bridge immediately afterwards, narrowly missing the Perrys on the ground below. One of those vehicles was a very large commuter bus,” a news release from the attorneys stated.

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In all, five vehicles and a PAT bus were involved in the collapse, which sent them into a ravine in Frick Park. Ten people were hurt, including four people who were hospitalized. Some of the people hurt were first responders who slipped and fell.

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The release from attorneys went on to say:

“Among other information developed since the crash, preliminary investigation has revealed that the bridge has been in poor condition for many years, this was known to the City and PennDOT, and that a weight limit was placed on the bridge because of its deteriorated condition. The collapse was a complete failure of governmental responsibility for public safety and to the Perrys.”

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The notices of intent to sue, according to the attorneys, are to inform the agencies of the “serious harm” the couple suffered and to insist that parties responsible for the maintenance of bridges and highways “act now and with vigor to prevent this kind of disaster from happening again.”