SANTA ROSA (AP) — A woman who drove off a windy highway into a swollen Northern California creek was rescued after spending a chilly night in the back seat with her dog, authorities said.
Victoria Trautvetter, 67, was rescued after an eight-hour ordeal when someone spotted the car in Austin Creek, the Press Democrat reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/2ldFnim).
Trautvetter drove her Subaru off Cazadero Highway late Friday night, striking several trees before plunging 20 feet down the bank. The car rolled once and ended upright in the middle of the stream.
The Cazadero woman climbed into the back seat where she and her dog, Jasper, stayed dry and waited for help.
Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said it was a double miracle. The car ended up on its wheels and was lodged against a rock so it wasn’t swept downstream and it was prevented from flooding further.
“If this would have happened last week when the creek was really running, she’d have gone under,” Baxman said.
The woman’s own actions and calm likely kept her from further harm, Besides being chilled, her only complaint of pain was in her right shoulder, firefighters said. She was taken to Sebastopol for treatment.
“I was amazed at how calm she was,” volunteer firefighter Cory Olson said. “I can only imagine how bad things would have gotten if she had tried to get out in the middle of the night with that current.”