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Body Pulled From Submerged Car as Bay Area Storm Chaos Rages On

Written by Joe BurnPublished Jan. 11, 2023 • 2:11pm
Sonoma County first responders search for a submerged car after stormy weather. | Courtesy Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

A woman's body has been pulled from a submerged car after she called for help during stormy weather that filled her vehicle with water.

The victim has been identified as Daphne Fontino, 43, from Ukiah, California.

Fontino called 911 for help on Tuesday morning after 10 a.m. as her car was stuck in floodwaters in the 6000 block of Trenton-Healdsburg Road, Forestville in Sonoma County.

She reported there was water in the car, then the line disconnected. Dispatch immediately tried to call back several times with no response, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

The Marine Unit, Henry 1 helicopter, CHP Helicopter, several deputies and Sonoma County Fire District Swift Water Rescue personnel all responded to the scene to search for the car and driver.

Sonoma County first responders search for a submerged car. | Courtesy Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

They searched until sunset when the search became too dangerous to continue in the dark. They did not find the car or driver.

At approximately 6 a.m. Wednesday, Marine Unit deputies and Sonoma County Fire Swift Water Rescue personnel returned to the scene to continue search efforts at sunrise.

At approximately 7:46 a.m., they found a car submerged in flood waters approximately 100 yards from the road.

The car was submerged in approximately 8 to 10 feet of water, making it difficult to determine if the car was occupied.

READ MORE: Storm Takes Down 100-Foot Tree, It Crushes Car in San Francisco

A Marine Unit deputy dove into the water and determined the car was occupied but that the occupant had died.

Deputies and fire personnel then removed the body from the car.

The Coroner’s Office confirmed Fontino was the occupant. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said it sends its condolences to the victim’s family and friends during this challenging time.

Joe Burn can be reached at

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