Police: Man covered for nephew in London Bridge car crash

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (AP) -- A man who told police he was responsible for a car crash that damaged the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City last December was covering up for a relative who did not have a license, authorities said.

Police charged Jose Lopez, 33, with providing false information to law enforcement after getting an anonymous tip that his 20-year-old nephew, Eduardo Rodriguez-Mariscal, was driving Dec. 12, Sgt. Troy Stirling said.

Authorities confirmed that Rodriguez-Mariscal was behind the wheel of the truck that damaged the tourist landmark, the Today's News-Herald reported Wednesday.

Stirling said Thursday both men were cited and released, and he did not know if either man had an attorney. Phone listings to reach the men for comment could not be found.

The impact of the crash knocked out 40 feet of granite railing. Police divers last month recovered nearly 30 pieces of the bridge, while 18 balusters and eight top rail pieces are being kept in a storage yard, according to city officials. Only two of the balusters were found unbroken.

Plywood and barricades are serving as temporarily fill-ins for the railing. Permanent repairs may take months because the city would have to put the project up for bid.

Lake Havasu City founder Robert McCulloch bought the bridge from the city of London in 1968 for approximately $2 million. It was brought piece by piece to Lake Havasu.

Rodriguez-Mariscal has been charged with hit-and-run and lacking a valid driver's license. He borrowed Lopez's truck to drive to a restaurant where the uncle works when a mechanical issue with the truck's throttle caused the crash, police said.

Lopez's 11-year-old daughter was also riding in the vehicle, but nobody was hurt. The two told Lopez what happened, and he offered to take responsibility, Stirling said.


Information from: Today's News-Herald, http://www.havasunews.com

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