It's a lot easier to get a vehicle into a canal than out. Still, a California Highway Patrol officer said he was impressed with how quickly a tow crew pulled a Ford F-150 pickup out of a full canal late Friday morning.
About 10:50 a.m., the CHP, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Modesto Fire and American Medical Response were dispatched to a report of a vehicle into a Turlock Irrigation District canal at East Hatch Road and Pearson Avenue, just south of Modesto. The driver was buckled in but above the water.
He was evaluated at the scene but refused ambulance transport, a CHP officer said. The man sat in a patrol car while waiting for his son to pick him up. There was no evidence of drugs, alcohol or distracted driving being factors. Witnesses told the CHP the man was driving west on Hatch and all appeared normal until he veered right, went up the canal bank and into the water.
When E-Towing's Tony Amador arrived to pull out the truck, firefighters loaned him a ladder to give Amador something to hold onto and possibly stay dry. There was no avoiding the water, though, when he had to duck fully beneath the surface to attach hooks. Amador joked that he'd have to start carrying scuba gear in the truck.
The crew had the truck back on dry land within 25 minutes or so. When the CHP officer complimented E-Towing's efficiency, Amador replied there are two ways to go about it: spend a lot of time doing the mathematics and figuring out all the angles, or "you can just get it done."