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first on Bridge collapse semi driver enters a "not guilty" plea to charges

Posted: Tue, Jun 6, 2017 1:16 PM
( photo by Paul Scott)

The driver of the semi which led to the crash of the Dahly Bridge into the Upper Iowa River last month has entered "innocent" pleas to two charges in Winneshiek County.

29-year-old Justin Hippen of Parkersburg is charged with violating a weight embargo and with failure to obey a traffic control device.
Hippen is due in court at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 12th.  A pretrial conference has been set for June 27th.

The Iowa Courts Online website shows that the Winneshiek County charges will not be the first time Hippen has faced similar charges, having gotten ten tickets in the last nine years, covering incidents in six Iowa counties.

Hippen was stopped in Linn County in 2009 for not carrying a vehicle registration and in Franklin County in 2009 for two counts of failing to comply with safety regulations.  Iowa Courts Online says Hippen negotiated a settlement of the Linn County charge and had the Franklin County charges dismissed.

Hippen faced charges in two other counties in 2010.  In Washington County, he was ticketed for allowing an unqualified driver to operate his vehicle--a charge which was dismissed.  In Butler County, he was ticketed for not wearing seat belts--a charge which was dismissed after Hippen negotiated an agreement with prosecutors.

But the most relevant prior charges came in 2015 in Hardin County, where he was given three tickets for violating maximum weight standards of his vehicle.  Hippen agreed to pay a fine and the negotiated settlement was approved by a judge.