A pickup ran off Parker Road east of Modesto Friday morning, plunging down a 40-foot embankment and splashing into Dry Creek.
The driver climbed onto the hood and firefighters rescued him.
Michael Abbott said he was westbound on Parker near Church Street at about 8:15 a.m. when his brakes locked and the pickup ran into the creek.
"I didn't know where I was until I felt the water on my feet," he said.
Never miss a local story.
Abbott, a Modesto attorney, was on his way to court in downtown Modesto when the accident happened.
Paul Stoeck, a California Highway Patrol officer, said speed did not appear to be a factor, although the accident is still under investigation.
Abbott's truck, a Toyota Tundra, rolled multiple times and landed right side up in the water, according to Mike Wapnowski, battalion chief with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District.
Witnesses on the scene called 911.
At first, Abbott couldn't get his door open. The water rose to just below the bottom of the driver-side window, and he was able to open the door and climb onto the hood.
Modesto and Stanislaus Consolidated firefighters were able to pull Abbott to safety. Paramedics checked him at the scene, and he did not require hospitalization.
Abbott said once he had gathered himself and realized he was fine, his attention turned to his client files.
"They're toast," he said. "And they're the only copies."
View Parker Road accident in a larger map