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Dramatic Rescue Caught On Video After Stamford Police Say Truck Driving Recklessly Sinks In Water During Winter Storm

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) - There was a dangerous rescue in Stamford, Connecticut.

First responders struggled to save a driver and her passenger from an icy pond in the middle of the nor'easter.

Stamford Police say Ashley Lionetti, 37, was doing "donuts" in the parking lot of Cummings Park and drove off the retaining wall into the water. Lionetti vigorously denies that, telling the Daily News it is a "blatant lie."

Stamford Water Rescue
(credit: Stamford Fire Department)

New video shows the moment the truck went into the water Monday and started sinking.

Now the driver faces charges.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reports, Stamford fire crews returned to the scene at Cummings Park Tuesday where Monday a life and death struggle played out in the 34 degree water.

It ended with the safe rescue of a driver and her passenger trapped inside her truck.

"Middle of a blizzard, we hear car in the water. Everything's working against us at that point," said Stamford Fire Chief Trevor Roach.

Ashley Lionetti, a truck-loving Instagram influencer, was tooling around with a friend in the snowy parking lot.

"Looked extremely different yesterday. You could not see pavement yesterday. It was all snow and ice," Roach said.

Video shows the moment Lionetti accidentally drove off the pavement and into the water, the truck sinking fast.

"Oh my God! What do we do? What do we do?" she says in the video.

"Back up, back up," her passenger says.

"I can't, I can't!" she says.

Stamford Water Rescue
(credit: Stamford Fire Department)

"I'm looking at the people in the water, but I'm also looking out for my guys," said Stamford Fire Capt. David Harriott. "If we get in trouble then the whole thing goes south."

The driver climbed through a window into the bed of the truck. Her passenger was stuck in the cab.

Three firefighters jumped into the water, while a tower ladder truck maneuvered into position.

The bucket of the truck can extend about 100 feet from the tower ladder truck, and rescuers needed every inch of that Monday.

Brian Rosero was among the three in the water desperately trying to pull the trapped man from the sinking truck.

"He knew that he was going under the water and he started to panic," Rosero said. "It was hard because we were just floating in the water, so we weren't getting any leverage to take out the windows."

After 30 seconds, the man suddenly popped through the window to the surface and was rescued.

"We got him up and got him out," Harriott said.

Lionetti denies reports she was driving recklessly, which is the charge she faces. She agrees the first responders are heroes, and says she's eternally grateful.

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