Traffic Inbox: The case of the haunted Veterans Memorial Bridge

By Ryan Harper, Traffic Anchor
Last Updated: Monday, October 30, 2017, 10:38 AM EDT

In this week’s Traffic Inbox, a Daytona Beach resident is inquiring about a disappearing bridge.

  • Veterans Memorial Bridge has vanished, but when will it return?
  • Man claims to have been visited by a ghost while on the bridge

Mabel Butler writes in this week …

"What's the story with the demolished Veterans Memorial Bridge that connects with Daytona Beach? Will it go back up? And didn't I hear a rumor that the old bridge was haunted?"

Upon arriving, we spoke with Mark DeGraves, a man who says the former bridge has made its own mark on him.

DeGraves's life changed forever one night when driving on the old Veterans Memorial Bridge in Daytona Beach.

"My car stalled. My friend and I got out to push. And the girl I was with was steering," he said.

While he was pushing, a drunk driver smashed into him, leaving him unconscious and without his left leg.

"I can remember letting go of my earthly everything, because I bled out," DeGraves recalled.

That's when his story begins to get a little out there. He claims a woman named Lucille from the historical Lilian Place house helped him.

DeGraves claims Lucille was not one from the realm of the living.

"She was dressed in all Victorian wear," he said.

Believe him or not, there is certainly a lot of "activity" out here in Daytona Beach, but it's mostly construction activity.

Recently, the old bridge commonly known as the Orange Avenue/Silver Beach Avenue Bridge was demolished to make way for a new higher bridge, eliminating the need for a drawbridge, which was nearly 60 years old.

Once a way to easily get to Daytona Beach, now the bridge has completely disappeared from Google Maps.

Residents however still feel its presence.

"The new bridge is haunting me,” said Tammy Yeatman, a local who lives close to the bridge work. “Construction is making things fall off of my window sill."

The bridge's construction zone literally hugs the borders of Lilian Place, a Victorian-style house built in 1884 by the prominent Thompson Family, rumored to be responsible for the first configuration of the bridge.

"I've heard years ago that Lucille used to walk on the bridge," said David White, one of the Lilian Place historians.

The new Veterans Memorial Bridge will also include 8-foot sidewalks for pedestrian usage. Completion of the bridge is still about a year and a half away.

For more information on Lilian Place and how you can visit the historical house, go to www.heritagepreservationtrust.org or give them a call at 386-256-4810.

Their Historic 1884 Museum is open daily from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., except for Tuesdays.

Check LIVE Traffic

View our Real Time Traffic Map and check cameras on Central Florida's major roads.

If you have a traffic question, Ryan Harper can answer it. Send him your question.