Man and dog playing fetch in car have to be fetched from the river |

Man and dog playing fetch in car have to be fetched from the river

An impromptu game of fetch got costly Wednesday night for a Basalt man who drove into the Roaring Fork River while retrieving his dog’s ball.

David Weigand was driving east on Willits Lane and nearing the intersection with Hooks Lane when disaster struck. “The driver was distracted when his dog’s ball rolled under his feet,” said a police report by Basalt Police Officer Penny Paxton.

Weigand reported to officials that he reached down to grab the ball and when he looked back up he was running off the right side of the road. Fortunately for him he missed a guard rail on the immediate right and trees further to the left. Unfortunately for him, his car flew off the road into the Roaring Fork River just east of the Hooks Bridge.

About 20 rescue workers and firefighters responded from the Basalt Fire Department. They discovered Weigand’s car 30 feet out into the river with the driver and dog stuck inside. The car stayed on its wheels.

Water rushed into the passenger compartment but the river wasn’t deep enough to submerge the car, according to Fire Chief Scott Thompson. A swift-water-rescue team in wet suits formed what they call a wedge to reach the vehicle. Weigand was given a life jacket and escorted to shore. His dog was also retrieved by rescue workers.

Weigand was wet and cold but otherwise uninjured. The man wasn’t treated for any medical problems, Thompson said.

The vehicle was towed out of the river almost immediately. Because it stayed upright there were no problems with hazardous materials or other fluids leaking out, according to Thompson.

Basalt officers gave Weigand a ticket for careless driving, according to Paxton’s report. No drugs or alcohol were suspected in the crash.

Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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