PENDLETON, Oregon – Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says the investigation into the double drowning tragedy in the Columbia River continues. As detectives continue to interview people with pertinent information, Rowan is also waiting for reports from the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.
“I’ve had some conversation with the district attorney, and we’ll continue to do that as we get our reports completed and into his office,” Rowan said.
Rowan said because the investigation is still ongoing, there are many elements that he is not yet able to address, but he did say the boat’s operator did not have a boater education card and therefore had not gone through safety training.
“Through that process, people learn a little bit more about what to watch for,” he said of the training. “If you’re operating a boat, you’re in charge of that boat – that vessel. By that, you’re responsible for everybody on board.”
Rowan said he was deeply touched by the many citizens who came out to aid in the search of the waters of Highway 730, as well as the organizations that sent volunteers to aid in the recovery effort, especially Columbia Basin Dive Rescue members who recovered the bodies of Janice Arsenault, 44, a volunteer for the Umatilla County Rural Fire Protection District; and Trenton Williams, 20, of Idaho.