Bridge tender arrested after woman falls to her death in West Palm Beach

Bond set at $20K for Artissua Lafay Paulk

Bond set at $20K for Artissua Lafay Paulk in fatal case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A West Palm Beach bridge tender was arrested in connection with the February death of a 79-year-old West Palm Beach woman who fell from the Royal Park Bridge, according to reports.

Related: 79-year-old identified as woman killed in fall from rising Florida drawbridge

Artissua Lafay Paulk, 43, faces a charge of one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence in the death of Carol Wright.

A judge set her bond at $20,000. Paulk was arrested on Thursday after police said their investigation found that video evidence contradicted Paulk’s statement that she walked outside to check the bridge for vehicles and pedestrians before opening the bridge.

WPTV reports that Paulk’s supervisor, who is also her mother-in-law, told her to tell police that she checked the bridge.

“When they talk to you, make dam sure you tell them you walked outside the balcony 3 diff times to make sure no one was past gates n delete this msg...” Paulk’s supervisor texted her on Feb. 6, the date of Wright’s death, according to WPTV.

Investigators said that Paulk’s actions showed reckless disregard for human life.

Manslaughter by culpable negligence carries a maximum 15-year prison.

It’s unclear if Paulk’s supervisor will face charges in the case.

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About the Author:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.