$8 Million Settlement Reached In West Palm Beach Drawbridge Death

Lance Ivey & Carol Wright

Photo: CBS 12

A South Florida attorney says he has reached "one of the largest wrongful death settlements of its kind" with a company that operates several drawbridges across the state.

Lance Ivey represents the family of 79-year old Carol Wright, who fell to her death from a West Palm Beach bridge as it opened while she was walking her bike across the span in February.

But Ivey says the nearly $8.3 million was not the most important thing about the settlement with Florida Drawbridges Incorporated.

"We told them up front that we were not going to agree to take the money and the settlement was conditioned on them making fundamental changes, which they have agreed to do."

Those include bridge tenders going through recertification training and new hires being subject to criminal background checks.

The woman on duty at the time, 43-year old Artissua Paulk, is charged with manslaughter after police said she never checked for pedestrians before lifting the bridge.

Also as part of the settlement, FDI has agreed to periodic quality audits with out-of-area supervisors and all bridge tenders are required to watch a video about Mrs. Wright's life and death.

Ivey says the woman's family is donating nearly $1 million "back to the community."

As part of the agreement, a scholarship with the University of Miami is being established in Wright's name.

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