County council to claim against woman who narrowly escaped death after plunging through bridge

PUBLISHED: 15:58 24 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 02 June 2010

A WOMAN who narrowly escaped death after her car plunged into a Fenland river is to be sued for damaging a bridge. Cambridgeshire County Council believes that far from being responsible for any structural defects to the bridge, it has amassed enough evide

Alma and Tony Ryman, Manea

THE county council is set to make an insurance claim for damage caused to a bridge after a woman crashed through the barrier and plunged into a Fenland river.

Cambridgeshire County Council believes that far from being responsible for any structural defects to the bridge, it has amassed enough evidence to put the blame squarely on the motorist.

Alma Ryman, who was driving the car when it careered 40 feet into the river after skidding and going through a crash barrier, has been told the council expects her insurers to pay for the damage.

"From evidence available to us, including an independent witness, we believe it is right to claim from the driver's motor insurance policy," said a council spokesman.

The bill would include the cost of " reinstating the damage to the bridge rather than the tax payer footing the bill."

He added that the matter is "proceeding through the usual legal and insurance procedures and as such it would be wrong for us to comment further".

Mrs Ryman was on Horseway Bridge between Manea and Chatteris when her car went into a skid and crashed through the barrier.

"The car just slid as if I was driving on ice," she said at the time. "I have lost my car because the road was muddy and the barrier was not strong enough."

Mrs Ryman was in her Kia Sorento with her pet dog Tilly when she lost control and careered into the water in February.

Three passers-by stopped to help Mrs Ryman and her Yorkshire terrier from the partially-submerged car, first lifting the dog onto the roof before helping Mrs Ryman to the riverbank.

After the accident the county council promised a full inquiry to see "what force was required to have caused such extensive damage to the bridge".

They now think they have the answer "and clearly our legal teams feel confident we have sufficient to back up our claims.


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