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SUV In Lake

A Haywood County man says someone pushed his vehicle into Lake Junaluska Friday morning.

Robert Leatherwood says someone came up behind him about 5:30 a.m. and pushed him off Lakeshore Drive and into the lake, then took off.

He says the Chevy Suburban he was driving floated into the middle of the lake. He says he struggled to get the window even half way open.

"And when I got it opened the rest of the way, it just gushed in and filled the car up and I was trying to fight this water off to get out the window," said Leatherwood.

He swam about 175 feet in the cold water to rescue crews on shore.

"I was shaking so bad I couldn't even talk to them. It was so cold," said Leatherwood.

He was treated for minor injuries, including hypothermia.

But the North Carolina Highway Patrol says there's no evidence that Leatherwood's vehicle was pushed into the lake. No damage to the vehicle or skid marks, according to investigators.

Leatherwood has been charged with reckless driving, but the patrol says there is no evidence of alcohol, drugs, or speed.

Leatherwood, who previously ran Stingrays Nightclub in Maggie Valley, says someone did it.

"You'll have enemies in any kind of business like that," said Leatherwood.

Leatherwood says because the car behind him pressed up so closely against his bumper, he wasn't able to get any further vehicle description.

By Rex Hodge

Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS



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