Dump truck driver cited after striking Queen Street bridge in August

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

The truck drivers involved in two crashes that damaged the Queen Street overpass on Interstate 83 both pleaded guilty to charges in the incidents, according to court records, although the status of PennDOT's efforts to recoup damages remains unclear.

In February, a truck driver collided with the bridge due to what a state Department of Transportation spokesperson described as an oversized load. Then, on Aug. 24, a dump truck struck the bridge with the truck bed raised at a 45-degree angle, according to police reports.

Work to repair the February damage had been scheduled to begin just two days before the second strike.

The cost to repair the damage caused by both crashes is now estimated at between $1 million and $1.5 million.

Police said the bed on the International 7600 dump truck that Frederick Shilke, 52, of York City, was driving Aug. 24 was raised when it struck the underside of the Queen Street overpass that runs above I-83.

Shilke on Wednesday pleaded guilty in front of District Judge Laura Manifold to disregarding a traffic lane. He previously had been charged with careless driving, but that charge was dropped, according to court documents. 

When reached for comment, Shilke preferred not to comment about the incident at this time as Pennsylvania State Police continue their investigation.

PennDOT and police officials have not disclosed the company Shilke was driving for, if he was driving for a company. The York Dispatch has filed Right-to-Know requests for that information.

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According to the police report, the bed of Shilke’s dump truck was raised at a 45-degree angle when it struck the underside of the bridge. Two other vehicles were damaged in the incident: debris from the bridge smashed the windshield of a 2014 BMW X1 and damaged the front end of a Mazda CX3.

Shilke was injured in the accident and transported to WellSpan York Hospital with minor injuries. The other drivers were unhurt.

Shilke did say he had multiple injuries from the accident, but preferred not to comment further at the present time.

Interstate 83 traffic is diverted around the South Queen Street bridge while workers effort to stabilize the structure, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. The bridge was struck by a truck driving beneath the overpass on Wednesday. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The Aug. 24 incident marked the second strike on the Queen Street overpass in six months. On Feb. 24, a truck carrying an oversized load struck the bridge, PennDOT spokesperson Alexis Campbell said. 

That truck was owned by Lavish Transport LTD, of Canada, and driven by Gurinder Singh, a Canadian resident. Singh pleaded guilty to nine counts and violations related to the crash, according to court records. Those included operating a truck that exceeded the height allowance.

“For both bridge strikes, PennDOT intends to pursue reimbursement for the damages from the responsible parties,” Campbell said, in a written statement.

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Before the second strike of the bridge, PennDOT was looking at $600,000 to repair the damage from the February accident. With the damage from the second strike, those estimates are now between $1 million and $1.5 million. 

“We have not yet received a police accident report, so we don’t have any information that we can share at this point as to the trucking company or any other details,” Campbell said. “In coming days or weeks, we will learn more and we plan to pursue monies owed PennDOT which are attributable to this second strike.” 

Lavish Transport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Reach Anthony Maenza at amaenza@yorkdispatch.com or @atmaenza on Twitter. 

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