Memorial Bridge reopened after crash that left vehicle in Potomac River

February 25, 2013

Memorial Bridge, an icon of monumental Washington, reopened Monday with a temporary barrier shielding the place where a sport-utility vehicle crashed through the railing and plunged into the Potomac River.

The vehicle was headed east when it left the road about 10 p.m. Sunday and apparently jumped a curb and crossed a sidewalk before crashing through the chest-high stone railing, according to an account from the U.S. Park Police.

The driver’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Park Police Sgt. Paul Brooks said.

The driver’s name was not released, and the matter remained under investigation, Brooks said. The bridge was closed until about 2:30 a.m. Monday.

The SUV crashed through the railing about 100 yards from the western edge of the bridge. A section of railing about 20 feet long was missing Monday from the southern, or downstream, side of the bridge.

Several of the urn-shaped supports for the top of the railing lay cracked and broken on the riverbed beneath the gap. At about 2 p.m., near low tide,the water there was about 20 feet below the bridge and about two feet deep.

A concrete highway traffic barrier had been placed lengthwise in front of the gap.

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