(Courtesy of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office)

Crews rescue woman who drove off cliff, ran into ocean

A 54-year-old Santa Rosa woman who escaped her burning Volkswagen Beetle swam into the ocean Tuesday morning.

BODEGA BAY – A 54-year-old Santa Rosa woman who escaped her burning Volkswagen Beetle on the Sonoma Coast and swam into the ocean Tuesday morning may haveintended to kill herself, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

The Bodega Bay Fire Protection District responded to a call around 6 a.m. about someone who needed extrication from a vehicle that went over a cliff north of Coleman Beach, Fire Capt. Lou Stoerzinger said.

Responders found a burning vehicle on a rock outcropping below a cliff and saw a woman, who escaped the vehicle through a window, treading water 50 to 75 yards off shore, Stoerzinger said.

Heath Lesik, a career firefighter who is trained in ocean rescue and volunteers for the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, swam out to the woman and helped her ashore, Stoerzinger said.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter Henry 1 flew the woman to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital after she was treated by paramedics at the scene, Stoerzinger said. Firefighters doused the woman’s burning vehicle.

The rescue took about 40 minutes. The Bodega Bay Volunteer Fire Department, Gold Ridge Fire Protection District, Monte Rio Fire Protection District, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and State Parks also responded to the rescue.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol believe the woman intentionally drove over the cliff near Coleman Valley Road and ran into the ocean in a suicide attempt.

The woman was placed on a mandatory mental health hold at the hospital, Crum said.

Just Posted

Community-led efforts to monitor air quality in Bayview, Eastern neighborhoods gain traction

San Francisco community groups are working to install high-quality sensors in the… Continue reading

Homeless shelter opponents use attack as ammunition in fight against city

A week after being attacked outside her condo building near the Embarcadero,… Continue reading

Fire department drill finds traffic around Chase Arena could slow response time

For years, some have feared the future home of the Golden State… Continue reading

Did Scoot ‘redline’ SF neighborhoods? Chinatown group says ‘we asked for it’

The talk of the transportation world is a Los Angeles Times story… Continue reading

New hires solve SF school crossing guard shortage — for now

San Francisco has gone on a school crossing guard-hiring binge, hoping to… Continue reading

Most Read