Even if someone owning property along the way had offered a driveway, it likely wouldn't be big enough and if the trailer had been parked on soft ground, it likely would have been impossible to get if off the ground and on to the roadway, so Caldwell said he had no choice but to allow the trailer carrying a 24-ton boat to go on its way, despite the fact that it was running on wheels and those wheels were scratching the road.
The officer said he would have charged Damron and Steven Elswick, the owner of the trailer and the man supervising the boat's transportation, with criminal mischief, a stiffer charge than defective equipment, if the state had wanted to pursue the charges. Caldwell said Foreman Kevin Claunch of the state highway garage examined the roadway and said there was no damage bad enough to charge the men with criminal mischief.
Caldwell said he would not file the charge if the state would not back him up. Claunch was unavailable to confirm what the police chief said about the inspection of the road. The chief said he could not charge them with criminal mischief because the roadway was not his property.
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When asked why it was allowed to go up the narrower Chimney Rock Road and not toward Kennedy Bridge, Caldwell said it was because the Chimney Rock Marina was closer than Pandora Marina, which he said was the first boat dock toward the bridge.
The trailer remains at the marina. Caldwell did not know the origin of the boat or where the trip began. He said the driver and supervisor had a permit to truck that large trailer and boat and had a flag man accompanying them to warn drivers of an extra wide load.