Massachusetts yesterday sued a driver from upstate New York for the $1.85 million in damage it says he caused when the boom of the excavator he was hauling on a flatbed slammed into a turnpike overpass and then, 30 miles down the road, slammed into another overpass, after which the excavator fell off the flatbed and took out a stretch of guardrail.
In its suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, the state Attorney General's office says that unlike the easily shredded box trucks that always lose showdowns with Storrow Drive bridges, the more solidly built excavator pulled by Joseph Quill of Esperance, NY on Sept. 20, 2019, did "substantial damage" to the Birnie Avenue overpass in West Springfield and the Southampton Street overpass in Westfield, not to manage what it did to the guardrail it landed on.
The state alleges that after the first crash, Quill pulled into the breakdown lane and adjusted the excavator boom, but not enough, since it soon after rammed into the second span.
Again, Quill pulled into the breakdown lane, the state says, but this time he couldn't try to adjust the boom again because "the excavator fell from the flatbed, damaging MassDOT's guardrail."
After the second storrowing, State Police issued Quill a ticket for failure to check height clearance.
Quill breached the duty of care that he owed to the plaintiff when he operated his vehicle in a negligent, careless, and substandard manner.
As a direct and proximate result, MassDOT was caused to sustain severe property damage.
In addition to reimbursing it for the costs of repairs, MassDOT is also seeking a jury trial to determine damages.