State meets in bridge collapse case, no settlement reached

Tuesday, May 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Closed-door talks in the state's lawsuit over the deadly Interstate 40 bridge collapse failed to yield a settlement Monday, the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office reported.

Parties in the lawsuit met in Oklahoma City with U.S. District Judge Lee West, who previously mediated individual settlement talks in the May 26 collapse that killed 14 people.

No settlement was reached Monday and no dates were set for future conferences, said Charlie Price, spokesman for Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Price said the parties could meet again before a June 2004 trial date.

The state's $56 million lawsuit names Mississippi-based towboat owner Magnolia Marine Transport Co., its parent company, Ergon Inc., and towboat pilot William Joe Dedmon.

The towboat, Robert Y. Love, was pushing two empty barges when they crashed into the bridge's pier, sending the span and motorists tumbling into the Arkansas River.

Dedmon's attorneys said the 62-year-old pilot suffered from heart problems and may have blacked out just before the barges struck the bridge.