Kansas man who drowned during police chase was convicted felon

Posted: Updated:

Kansas Department of Corrections records show that a man who drowned while fleeing from police on an ATV was a convicted felon.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation identified the man Tuesday as 32-year-old Caleb O'Donnell, of Coffeyville. The KBI said previously that he drowned Friday in the Verdigris River in Montgomery County. Records show he had two previous drug convictions.

The chase began when police were told an ATV stolen Thursday night from the Montgomery County Fair was seen on U.S. 169 headed toward the Oklahoma border. An officer saw the driver turn off the ATV off the road and travel through a field to the river. The officer discovered the ATV had hit a tree and then saw the man struggling in the river. Rescue attempts were unsuccessful.

Previous story by KAKE News:

Kansas authorities are investigating after a man in his 20s drowned in a river after leading police on a chase Friday afternoon. 

South Coffeyville, Oklahoma, police responded at around 12:20 p.m. Friday to a report from someone who spotted an ATV that had been stolen from the Montgomery County Fair the night before. It was heading south on Highway 169 toward Oklahoma. 

An officer began to pursue the ATV from a distance and notified authorities from Kansas. 

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the officer saw the ATV head north near 1400 Road and travel through a field toward the Verdigris River. 

"Once the officer caught up, he discovered that the driver of the ATV had crashed into a tree," the KBI said in a news release. "The officer then spotted the man struggling in the nearby Verdigris River."

Authorities from Coffeyville and Montgomery County, Kansas responded to the scene. They threw ropes to the man to try to help him, and then a Coffeyville officer entered the water and tried to rescue him. But the man died at the scene.

The man's name was not released. The investigation is ongoing. 

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