Ravalli County Sheriff Holton confirmed on Thursday afternoon that a 17 year-old male from Sanders County drowned in the Clark Fork River after fleeing from law enforcement.

“With the help of the State Crime Lab and the pathologist there we were able to determine that they young man died due to drowning after he entered the river,” said Holton. “The water was really cold and its June so that with the current flowing and the depth of the water combined with the temperature which was about 38 degrees, he was in the water for about an hour and ten minutes. It was all bad circumstances and it was tragic that a young man would succumb to those conditions. Search and Rescue was able to get him out of the water and transport him to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead in the Emergency Room at St. Patrick Hospital.”

Holton said it is Ravalli County policy not to release the name of a juvenile victim.

“The young man was only 17 years old, so just out of respect for the family and in keeping with Ravalli County policy, we’re not going to release that name,” he said. “There’s still a family and friends who are mourning out there and we want to respect their privacy and give them the opportunity to deal with the circumstances, as the incident was just a few days ago.”

Multiple officers and agencies were involved in the incident and rescue attempts, including the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the Missoula Police Department, the University of Montana Police Department, Missoula Fire and Rescue, and Missoula County Search and Rescue. The Missoula County Sheriff's Office is investigating the circumstances leading up to the victim exiting the vehicle and jumping in the river in an attempt to elude law enforcement officers.


More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM