Crime - Sacto 911

Woman abandoned in submerged car rescued after ‘muffled gurgle’ heard

Megan Russell
Megan Russell video image

A suspected drunken driver drove off a road in Marysville, landed his car upside down in a canal and fled the scene, leaving a female passenger fighting for her life as the sedan filled with water, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Travis Stanton, 27, of Yuba City was arrested after getting himself out of the car and fleeing on foot.

Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, a passerby noticed a wet man jogging down the road and asked if he was OK, the CHP reported. The same person drove down the road and discovered a silver Mercedes sedan flipped over in the canal on Clements Road. He called 911.

CHP officers located Stanton and detained him. Arriving at the accident scene, the officers questioned him about passengers. He said there were none in the vehicle, the CHP reported. However, officers heard “a muffled gurgle coming from the vehicle,” the report said.

CHP Officer Steven Klippel quickly jumped into the water and found the woman fighting for her life.

“I went running to the car and made it down the water’s edge, and I could hear someone breathing, which was weird because that car was underwater,” Klippel told ABC 10.

The Sacramento news station reported that woman’s name is Megan Russell, 23, of Marysville

“I remember waking up and the water at knee level,” Russell told the Sacramento news station. “I was punching the passenger window trying to get it out and I couldn’t, so I just climbed to the trunk and tried to find the most air I could.”

The vehicle was too far underwater to extricate the trapped female, CHP said. After a Sutter County fire truck arrived, crews threw a winch line down to the officer who wrapped it around the axle. The fire crew used the winch to lift the car onto its side.

Klippel was able to break the windows and rescue Russell. She was taken to the Rideout Memorial Hospital emergency room in Marysville by ambulance.

Russell suffered serious internal injuries from the collision, CHP said.

The driver was booked in Sutter County Jail on $1 million bail, according to CHP.

David Caraccio: 916-321-1125, @DavidCaraccio