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Mount Vernon, WA (ABC) - Three people were sent to the hospital after a portion of an Interstate 5 highway bridge in Mount Vernon, Wash., collapsed Thursday, dumping three vehicles into the water.
Two people rescued from the water were suffering from hypothermia, police said. Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, Wash., was expecting two patients taken from the accident, according to Kari Ranten, a spokeswoman. She believed the third patient was transported to another hospital.
Officials were looking into reports of an over-sized load "immediately" causing the collapse, said Travis Phelps of the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol.
"We're looking at the cause being an over-sized, over-height vehicle, striking critical portions of this bridge, causing it to collapse," he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said they will send a team to investigate the collapse.
The collapse occurred on the portion of Interstate 5 over the Skagit River, about two hours north of Seattle.
"N/B and S/B lanes of I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapsed," Washington State Trooper Mark Francis posted on Twitter. "People and cars in water."
The collapse occurred around 7 p.m. local time and the portion of the bridge that collapsed was four lanes wide, The Associated Press reported. The vehicles plunged about 40 feet from the bridge into the river and that set off a massive rescue operation.
A damaged red car and a damaged pickup truck were visible in the water. Helicopter footage from ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV showed several rescue boats in the Skagit River with several ambulances waiting on the shore.
Xavier Grospe, 62, who lives near the river, told The Associated Press he could see three cars partially submerged in the water with what appeared to be one person per vehicle, with drivers on top of vehicles or sitting on open window openings.
"It doesn't look like anybody's in danger right now," Grospe said.
The bridge was built in 1955, according to the AP, citing federal records.
Clean up efforts will take several days to weeks, according to Phelps. The bridge sees 77,000 cars per day, and Phelps said they are expecting significant congestion until the bridge is fixed.
"We inspect our bridge every two years. We're not going to let anybody drive on a bridge that is deemed unsafe," Phelps said.
The bridge was last inspected in November 2012 and deemed safe, Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Treece told ABC News.
GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) - The Boy Scouts of America's National Council has voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts.
Of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal.
Under the proposal drafted by the Scouts' governing board, gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders.
The outcome is unlikely to end a bitter debate over the Scouts' membership policy.
Some conservative churches that sponsor Scout units wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted. More liberal Scout leaders - while supporting the proposal to accept gay youth - have made clear they want the ban on gay adults lifted as well.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would create a state-governed "insurance exchange" so individuals and small businesses can shop for health care coverage as required by President Obama's health law.
Lawmakers voted Thursday 37-19 to send the House a bill establishing the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.
The exchange will guide people through the purchase of health and dental plans. It will also help qualified businesses enroll employees in health insurance plans.
The Affordable Care Act requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New marketplaces are scheduled to be operating by October.
Illinois will begin an exchange this year through a federal partnership. Gov. Pat Quinn hopes to establish a state-run marketplace for 2015.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved a plan that would ban the use of cell phones while driving.
Senators voted 34-20 Thursday, sending the bill to Gov. Pat Quinn. His spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. The House approved it in March.
The proposal says drivers have to use hands-free devices or use speakerphone features for calls.
Police would be able to ticket drivers holding a cell phone except during emergency situations. Roughly 75 Illinois communities, including Chicago, already ban talking on cell phones while driving.
Bill sponsor Sen. John Mulroe says the bill makes roads safer.
Opponents say the bill is unfair to individual rights and for those who can't afford high-tech phones.
Texting while driving is already illegal in Illinois.