TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Concrete fell from a bridge in New Jersey, smashing into the head of a truck driver below. The object pierced his skull, causing a long list of injuries including brain damage.
The victim says he plans on holding the state responsible for failing to maintain its infrastructure.
Earl Egbert tells CBS2’s Lisa Rozner that the 40 pound chunk of reinforced concrete smashed through his windshield in January, striking him in the head and littering his cabin with debris and blood. The concrete came from the bottom of a pedestrian bridge over Route 4 in Teaneck.
Onlookers thought someone died. Egbert survived, but he can no longer see out of his left eye. He also has trouble walking and his brain was severely damaged.
“I have a piece of bone, from my facial bone, stick up into my brain,” he said. “The doctor said he can’t do nothing about it.”
The New Jersey Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining the bridge. Egbert says he’s planning to sue the state.
“These bridges are taking a beating and it doesn’t seem there’s any urgency in maintaining them,” attorney Patrick Metz said. “At what point do we say we gotta fix these bridges before they start killing people.”
After the incident, the DOT sent inspectors to look at similar bridges. A spokesperson tells CBS2 they found no issues, but added they can’t comment on Egbert’s case as it’s pending litigation.
Meanwhile, Egbert says he’s looking up every time he has to come back to New Jersey and pass under a bridge. He drove every day for 30 years from the Bronx to Fair Lawn, but now he needs someone to drive him to multiple doctors every week.
“Two weeks in the hospital, three months home, it hurt,” he said. “Emotionally and physically because everything hurt.”
Egbert says he hopes with a lawsuit, that pain hopefully won’t happen to someone else.