ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- For the very first time, we're hearing from the driver that crashed into a St. Louis bridge back in July, causing the death of a well-known St. Louis businesswoman, Jan Torrisi-Mokwa.

She was the wife of former St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa and was driving below the bridge when a one-ton piece fell on her car.

Mokwa Accident

The young driver who caused the deadly crash has remained silent for months. Now, after her name was released in a police report, she has agreed to tell us her side of the story when we spoke with her at a public library.

“I was very remorseful, I was very upset,” said Damaya Love.

Love knows loss; her 2-month-old daughter died last year. But, she says she's traumatized again by what happened July 23.

“When serious traumatic stuff happens, it haunts me,” she said.

The 22-year-old was alone on her way to work when she took a right turn too sharply. Her car made impact with the decorative concrete railing on the bridge over Lindell and Union, sending the one-ton piece of concrete to the roadway below, crushing a car.

“It was there for a nano second and then it went and I was like ‘oh my god’ and I remember yelling ‘did anyone get hurt?’ People were steady asking me if I am okay, but I want to know if they are okay, because that piece of concrete just fell."

Love, who said she is due to give birth in December, went to the hospital. Only later she found out Mokwa had died.

“I just want the family to know that I know how much she meant to them and I know how it feels to lose someone and I am very sorry,” she said.

Immediately afterwards, News 4 revealed big questions about the bridge itself and the strength and design of the decorative barrier.

A few days after the incident. one city official defended the bridge, calling it all a freak accident and stressing driver safety.

“People on the road that give a s***. it's speed that kills. People need to slow put down their phones.” City official Todd Waeltermann said in July.

“I never speed, you can't slap a speeding charge on me, I never speed,” Love said.

Love said the impact did not even deploy her airbags. She said she was not distracted. She was, though, ticketed for driving without a full license. She only has a permit. She was also ticketed for driving without insurance.

“Do you think you should have been behind the wheel at all?” asked Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager.

“Yes, because i have to practice to get my license,” Love said.

Love said she has to work to support herself and her family...she's dealt with other trauma like the loss of her 2-month-old baby last year.

She is repeatedly apologizing to Mokwa's family.

“I am sorry I am not able to pay for anything because i don't have anything to give, but if I did, I would,” she said.

Still, Love said the city's the one to blame.

“I feel like if they would have fixed the bridge, maybe the lady would have survived, maybe she would have lived,” she said.

City officials have insisted in the past that the bridge is safe, but they have put up stronger, thick concrete barriers on the bridge now.

The police and the Circuit Attorney's Office say the investigation into the accident is ongoing.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

 

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