Man rescued from SUV as flooding affects Lee County roadways

Reporter: Olivia Jean
Published: Updated:

The flooded roads of Lee County saw fire rescuers jump into action to save a man from his slowly sinking SUV.

The South Trail Fire & Rescue Service District rescued a man from inside his sinking vehicle on Plantation Road at around 11:45 a.m.

According to the fire rescue, water was over the driver’s lap, and the car was slowly sinking into the mud.

Credit: The South Trail Fire & Rescue Service District

WINK News was there and watched it all happen.

The driver told WINK News Reporter Olivia Jean it was one of the scariest things he had ever experienced.

The rain today was dangerous and frightening, and Steven Yanniello is a prime example of how extreme weather can almost take your life. Steven lost control after hitting a big puddle on Plantation Road, right by Daniels Parkway.


“The water caught, and that was it. You could see where I came in. By the time I got here, I had the brakes on, and the car was floating. And I couldn’t back up. It just kept floating until it went all the way in where you saw it. I didn’t know how deep it was. I called the tow truck. They said it would take a while, and the guy told me flat out, ‘I’ll get your car out, but you got to get out on your own.’ So I called 911,” Yanniello said.

Around 12 on Wednesday afternoon, Plantation Drive was flooded. EMS, police, firefighters, a tow truck, and Steven’s red Suburu Forester were almost buried in the water.

“It was just weird because you’re so shaken up in your soul. What the heck happened?” Yanniello said.

WINK News watched as the tower struggled in the water to get the car out of the water. The tow truck driver said he has never gotten a car out of this deep of water.


“The job needs to get done, and there is always a first time for everything, so we got it done. Customer’s vehicle is out of the water, so I’m happy with it,” Rafael Hernandez with Star Five Towing said.

EMS rescued Steven.

“They already had life jackets and everything ready to go,” he said.

Steven is glad to be alive, as thankfully, he wasn’t seriously injured.

“There was nowhere else to go. There was nothing I could do. My first thought was, I gotta get a window open or something so I can get out of here,” Yanniello said.

He watched as his car was towed out of the mess in the early afternoon on Wednesday.


“You never know what you’re going to find at a water scene and Florida,” Hernandez said.

Steven said he wasn’t even planning on driving because of the bad weather, but something urgent came up.

The tow truck driver has some strong advice: if you don’t see the road because of water, do not go through it.

Steven is shaken up but OK.

Rain has been falling at a rate of around two to four inches per hour, with six inches of total rainfall possible over the next four hours.

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