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Duck boat driver issued $100 ticket after Storrow Drive crash

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State Police said Monday the duck boat driver who crashed into an overpass on Storrow Drive was issued a $100 ticket for failing to obey a sign warning of height restrictions on the road.

The route taken by the driver passes under an overhead sign reading "Danger: Low Clearance Cars Only," according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which maintains Storrow Drive.

"The Department of Conservation and Recreation continues to warn drivers of height restrictions along parkways leading into and out of the city of Boston, including Storrow Drive, and the agency asks that all drivers pay close attention to all posted signs for their safety and the safety of other drivers," the agency said in a statement Monday.


David Procopio, a State Police spokesman, said the driver, whose name was not released, had been diverted from his usual route.

Typically, the driver heads up Beacon Street past the State House, Procopio said.

But on Sunday, at the request of State Police, Boston police shut a portion of Beacon Street because union janitors were protesting MBTA job cuts at a meeting of New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers hosted by Governor Charlie Baker.

Unable to head up Beacon Street, the driver of the 11-foot-9-inch-high duck boat drove down Beacon to David Mugar Way and onto Storrow Drive eastbound.

At that point, the duck boat would have passed under the "Danger: Low Clearance Cars Only" sign, according to DCR.

Minutes later, about 6:30 p.m., the driver struck a 10-foot-6-inch bridge over Storrow Drive near the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, ripping a part of the roof off the vehicle, dubbed "Miss Emma Science."

No injuries were reported among the estimated 20 people aboard. State transportation officials inspected the overpass and deemed it to be sound.

Boston Duck Tours spokesman Joe Baerlein said in a statement Sunday that the first-year driver had been diverted and that the vehicles do not typically travel on Storrow Drive. The driver's actions, although not intentional, will be reviewed by the company, he said.


Boston Duck Tours has been involved in a pair of high-profile crashes this year. Earlier this summer, the driver of a Boston Duck Tours vehicle that struck a woman in Back Bay was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

In April, a woman was killed after the motor scooter she was driving collided with a duck boat near Charles and Beacon streets.

Sunday's crash came a day after state officials urged returning college students to be mindful of height restrictions on Storrow Drive, Memorial Drive, and Soldiers Field Road. The overpasses on those river roads are frequently struck by moving vans, box trucks, and other large vehicles, State Police said.

Three years ago, a bus carrying high school students from Philadelphia who had just toured Harvard University slammed into the Western Avenue bridge over Soldiers Field Road, injuring 30 people, four seriously.

Michael Levenson can be reached at