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SUV plunges off Santa Cruz Wharf

Posted: Monday, Jan 28th, 2013

Santa Cruz Police study a gaping hole in the railing on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf where a Toyota 4-Runner plunged into the sea with a 16-year-old driver and his father aboard. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

SANTA CRUZ — A man and his 16-year-old son escaped serious injury Monday morning when their SUV broke through a railing on Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and plunged into the ocean.

According to Santa Cruz Police Lt. Colleen McMahon, the 16-year-old driver, who had a learner’s permit, mistook the gas pedal for a brake and crashed through the railing at the midsection of the wharf. Neither the boy, nor his father who was sitting in the passenger seat, were injured.

The crash occurred just before 10:30 a.m., as a group of people watched from the wharf and nearby beach. Both occupants climbed out and swam to safety.

A small dog, an Australian shepherd named Wesley, also escaped and swam to shore about 100 feet away, witnesses said.

According to Chicory Roth, who was playing volleyball on Main Beach about 75 yards away, said he heard a crash and looked up just as the SUV fell into the water.

“A little while later, someone got out on top,” Roth said.

For the complete article see the 01-29-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-29-2013 paper.

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