An winery owner apparently misjudged a road and ended up in a decorative pond Tuesday night at Vine Cliff Winery on the Silverado Trail, according to CalFire/Napa County Fire Department.

Firefighters used a 105-foot ladder truck to rescue Chuck Sweeney after his SUV landed in 4 to 6 feet of water, 10 to 15 feet from the bank.

Following the mishap in the 7400 block of the Trail, Sweeney pushed an emergency “OnStar” button, which notified 911 at 8:10 p.m., Battalion Chief Pete Muñoa said. The driver, who was alone in the vehicle, managed to lift himself to the roof of the SUV.

As rain fell, firefighters lowered the ladder to rescue Sweeney. A firefighter helped him put on a flotation vest and reach the tip of the rescue ladder, Muñoa said. Another firefighter then held onto him as the ladder rotated back to the roadway.

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A California Highway Patrol helicopter also responded to the incident.

The driver was then checked out by American Medical Response ambulance personnel, but was not transported to the hospital.

“He’s fine,” son Rob Sweeney said Wednesday.


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