NAPLES — Two Isles of Capri brothers found themselves in deep water on Monday night when their pickup truck ran off the road and into a lake.
Gerry Paolini, 25, borrowed his older brother’s white 2005 Chevy Silverado to go to Naples about 6 p.m., when slippery roads and a lane change on State Road 951 brought him sliding into the lake at Fiddler’s Creek.
“I’m just glad I didn’t freak out,” said Paolini, who’s family owns Isle of Capri Marina. “If I hadn’t swerved, I’d have hit that tree,” he said, pointing to tire marks dug deep into the muddy grass leading to the man-made lake that is decorated by a large fountain in the center.
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Paolini’s driver side window was open at the time, so as water came rushing into the truck’s cab, he made a swift exit and swam out of the lake, he said.
Several witnesses stopped to see if he needed help, including making a call to 911 and then letting Paolini call his older brother.
“First thing I said was ‘I’m all right,’” Paolini recalled. “’But your truck is in the pond at Fiddler’s Creek.’”
His brother, Mike, 28, was on the scene in another family truck and recalled his response: “Dont tell me that... OK. I’ll be right there.”
Collier Sheriff’s deputies were on-scene and a dive team arrived about 7:30 p.m.
The truck was successfully recovered from the lake with the help of two CCSO divers and was being towed to an auto shop in Naples shortly after 8 p.m.