MISSOULA — The Missoula County coroner has released the name of the man who drove his Dodge Caravan into the Clark Fork River on Tuesday evening, sparking an extensive rescue and recovery operation.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Paige Pavalone said Melvin Arthur Beedle, 71, died after he drove off the river’s embankment near Taco John’s, but details surrounding his death haven’t been released to the public.
“The cause and manner of death have not been determined at this time,” Pavalone said Thursday.
Missoula police are still investigating why and how the tragic event occurred, Missoula police spokesman Travis Welsh said Thursday.
Welsh said the man was a resident of Missoula County and lived just outside the city limits.
He said it’s too soon to know if foul play was a factor in the man’s death or if he committed suicide. He also didn’t know if the man had any health issues that could have contributed to his death in the Clark Fork.
Emergency responders pulled Beedle's body from the partially submerged van Wednesday around 2 p.m. near the railroad bridge in the 600 block of West Broadway. The van was pulled out of the river about an hour later.