Vehicle rolls into lake during photo shoot


On Friday, Oct 20, at approximately 1:39 p.m. the POA received an anonymous call reporting that a vehicle entered into the lake at East Port boat ramp. The vehicle was being used in a photo shoot by the owner James Ravenna and his caretaker. According to a report by City of Canyon Lake Special Enforcement Officer Curtis Browning, the caretaker accidentally released the emergency brake when reaching in the vehicle for unknown reasons.

Community Patrol arrived at 1:45 p.m. Operations arrived at 3:20 p.m. and observed no oil/fuel spill. Booms were on standby on Friday. Three Operations employees, two Marine Patrol officers and one Community Patrol officer were also on standby.

A tow truck driver arrived but by the time the owner of the vehicle was located, it was too close to dark to remove the vehicle from the lake. It would have to stay until morning.

As a courtesy, the POA notified the city of the situation on Friday evening. Councilman Larry Greene contacted the city’s Special Enforcement Department to see if they could assist the POA if needed.

The following morning, at approximately 7:15 a.m., City Special Enforcement Officer Curt Browning arrived at the boat ramp to assess the situation and wait for the towing company to arrive and remove the vehicle.

CalFire Engine 60 and Canyon Lake Police arrived on scene at 9 a.m. to observe the removal of the vehicle.

At 9:50 a.m. Brother’s Towing company, who was called by request of the car’s owner,  began pulling the vehicle from the water after their diver had attached a cable to the front of the vehicle.

The vehicle was pulled completely out of the water at 10:20 a.m. Oil/fuel was visible on the water and shoreline. POA Operations handled the cleanup with absorbent pads and absorbent booms around the contaminated area.

Riverside County Department of Environmental Health representative Wes Wesolowski arrived on scene at 10:35 a.m. and assessed the situation. He advised that the cleanup pads be left in place for a minimum of 24-hours and a report be filed with the Office of Emergency Services. He offered assistance with any handling of the incident.

The POA removed the absorbent pads and booms from the lake on Monday. A follow up of the spill location was conducted by the Canyon Lake Special Enforcement Department.

Riverside County Department of Environmental Health will conduct a follow up. Office of Emergency Services and Lake Elsinore Water District were notified of the spill. A Special Enforcement report is being generated by Canyon Lake Enforcement Officers Curtis Browning and Gina Dickson. Officer Dickson is completing the Office of Emergency Services report.

There were no reported injuries or chemical exposures.

The registered owner of the vehicle was issued an Administrative Citation for violation of Municipal Code(s) CLMC 15.01.020 “Non-Storm Water Discharge” and CLMC 15.01.040 “Prohibited Discharge.” This citation carries a penalty of $500.00.

According to the report, the registered owner’s insurance company refused the claim for the vehicle in the lake.

“I am so pleased with how the different agencies and entities worked together to handle this unfortunate incident,” said Mayor Pro Tem Vicki Warren. “Everyone did what needed to be done and the city was there to bolster and assist the POA as needed. Excellent job all around.”