Alleged Texting Driver Unhurt After Plummeting Off Bridge

A Danvers man walked away unhurt after his car careened after the White Fuel Bridge late Monday night.

A Danvers man allegedly texting while driving escaped unharmed after his car plummeted off the White Fuel Bridge and into the Waters River late Monday night.

Gerald Maher, 22, of Danvers, was able to get himself out of his 1999 Nissan Altima and swim to the riverbank before rescuers arrived.

Danvers Police Capt. Patrick Ambrose said the first arriving officers found Maher on the shore – wet but mostly unhurt. He was treated at the scene and released and didn’t need to be taken to the hospital.

Police said it all happened when Maher was driving east on Water Street, toward Peabody, when he struck the snowbank on his side of the road at about 11:45 p.m.

“That sent him careening through the guardrail and into the river,” Ambrose said.

On Tuesday morning, a bent old, rusty guardrail sat at the point where the car left the road.

Maher will be charged with negligent operation and texting while driving.

Maher didn’t immediately return a phone message left at his Maple Street home on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, Harbormaster Christopher Sanborn was out on the bridge still looking for the car  -- which he said is white -- on the riverbank.

The Beverly Fire Department dive team conducted a search after the crash early Tuesday morning.

“They were here last night for four hours,” Sanborn said from the shores of the river, near the bridge, at about 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

Ambrose said the Beverly Dive Team will return on Wednesday to resume the search for the car.

“The vehicle is still in there,” Ambrose said. “It’s just a recovery of the vehicle at this time.”


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