A woman survived a harrowing night in the middle of a swollen creek in western Sonoma County after she drove off Cazadero Highway and became trapped in her car for several hours before being rescued early Saturday morning.

The woman drove off the windy two-lane road near Hahn Road at some point overnight, rolling once before landing on her wheels in Austin Creek, said Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman.

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Surrounded by rushing water and unable to get out of the vehicle the woman stayed put until someone spotted her and called for help, Baxman said.

“If this would have happened last week when the creek was really running, she’d have gone under,” Baxman said.

He estimated the car plunged about 20 feet down the bank and rolled about 10 feet into the middle of the creek.

Tow truck driver John Yost said he was dispatched to the scene around 8:30 a.m. to retrieve the vehicle. He called it a “double miracle” that the woman survived.

The first miracle was that the car landed on its wheels. The second was that the car wasn’t swept downstream, instead becoming pinned against a large rock in a way that allowed the woman to crawl into the back and remain dry until her rescue hours later.

The woman suffered a shoulder injury and was taken to Sebastopol for medical treatment, Baxman said. Her identity was not available Saturday morning.

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