Friday, May 24, 2024

State Police look over a car pulled from the Charles River near Flagg Street on Monday. (Photo: Marc Levy)

A Rhode Island man was rescued after driving into the Charles River on Monday and his car towed out hours later, just around a month after a driver spun his car into the river after a collision with another vehicle. Both incidents took place on Memorial Drive – this latest one past the Weeks Bridge near Flagg Street in Riverside.

The driver said he “blacked out” behind the wheel before the crash, state police said.

Faint drag marks were visible in the asphalt path where the 2014 Toyota RAV4 veered for unknown reasons off the roadway onto the green, through the brush and into the water at around 7:35 p.m. The driver was rescued quickly, according to dramatic reporting by Wale Aliyu of Boston 25 News, after waving from his sinking car to indicate he was okay. People in a passing rowboat threw a life preserver; after getting to dry land, the 23-year-old Exeter man was discovered near the Boston University DeWolfe Boathouse and taken to Mount Auburn Hospital with minor injuries, state police said.

A Todisco Towing worker helps pull the 2014 Toyota RAV4 from the Charles River on Monday. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The removal of his car from the Charles took significantly longer. The scene was surrounded by city and state police, a dive team, Cambridge firefighters and many passersby who watched as a Todisco tow truck out of Boston pulled the vehicle out, rear end first, after repeated tries and a few snarls. At one point, the sound of a chainsaw could be heard at the shoreline.

It took until 9:54 p.m. for the Toyota to be pulled free. The tow truck released it and left so it could be loaded onto a flatbed truck and removed.

The driver’s surprise turn into the water nearly hit a woman and child walking along the path, witnesses said. “We’re talking a matter of five seconds [as the car went] between 30, 40 miles per hour right by,” jogger Mark McDermot told 7 News Boston.

In the earlier incident, Ronaldo Kamers, 40, of Burlington, was spun into the Charles at around 6:30 a.m. Aug. 24 in his 2013 Subaru Outback station wagon with the force from a collision at Memorial Drive and Western Avenue. He freed himself by punching through his car’s sunroof, media reported, and was pulled out of the water by people in a passing Northeastern University Rowing safety boat. The other driver was cited for the incident, police said.