PEORIA — Firefighters responded when a boat crashed into the McClugage Bridge on Sunday evening.

According to Peoria Fire Department Battalion Chief Tom Carr, a man was driving the boat and three girls around the age of 12 were riding in it when they hit a bridge pylon about 5:55 p.m. One girl was driven to the hospital by her father after her earring was torn out.

A Peoria police officer on the scene said the boat was towed to Spindler Marina in East Peoria by the Fondulac Park District's maritime security boat.

It was unclear what caused the boat to crash into the bridge, according to Carr.

One woman said she saw the accident from the shore.

"They were coming from the East Peoria side pretty quickly when it turned around under the bridge and hit the wall," said Tevis Brown of Pekin, who called 911. "I heard somebody scream. They got everyone life jackets and pulled somebody back into the boat."

Though Carr said he doesn't believe there have been any similar accidents on the river this year, he cautions boaters to be safe when they're on the water.

"The river is not a very big water system. It seems like (the channel) gets smaller and smaller every year because of silt," he said. "There's not a whole lot of room out there to navigate. ... Lots of boats are trying to use those same lanes. We can get into trouble with that."

Maddie Gehling can be reached at 686-3194 or by email at Follow her on Twitter @mgehling_pjs.


This story and photo captions were updated Tuesday, July 25, to indicate the Fondulac Park District's boat towed the damaged boat from the scene.