History of drownings in the Fox River

Sunday's drowning of a man on the Fox River was the second death on the river this year. An especially tragic year was 2006, during which seven people drowned in five separate water accidents.

Here's a look at the drownings covered by the Daily Herald during the past two decades.

July 20:

A man drowned Sunday, July 20, in the Fox River near Angelina Place in Carpentersville. The man was fishing on the river with two friends. The missing man and one of the friends decided to go swimming in the water, police said. Both men struggled with the river's current. The victim's friend, who police said was a stronger swimmer, made it to a nearby island, where he was later rescued.

April 19:

One man was killed and another man was injured after kayaking near a dam on the Fox River in Geneva, authorities said. The two men who went over the dam were from a group of six friends from downstate Bloomington; they had rented three, two-person kayaks for a trip on the river.

July 6, 2012:

An Aurora man drowned after apparently jumping into the Fox River to cool off during the heat wave on July 7, 2012. Gene Autry Pryor, 52, died near Veteran's Memorial Island.

Aug. 5, 2011:

Despite heroic efforts from bystanders and rescue workers, a man died after becoming trapped in the Fox River below the Geneva dam. Randy Suchy, 57, and two 12-year-old boys were fishing off a tabletop rock below the dam when one boy fell into the river. Suchy tried to save the boy but drowned. The boy survived.

Feb. 18, 2009:

A 47-year-old St. Charles Township man's body was pulled from the Fox River near his home. Police found no signs of foul play.

Nov. 14, 2008:

An eight-day leadership retreat for students from a Chicago high school ended in tragedy when three students plunged into the chilly Fox River near Algonquin and drowned. Melvin Choice Jr., 17, Jimmie Avant, 18, and Adrian Jones, 16, died in the waters near Camp Algonquin. The three were among as many as 16 students who attempted to ride paddleboats on the fast-moving river, authorities said.

June 16, 2008:

A 76-year-old Chicago man drowned after a boat he and two others rented to go fishing tipped over at a dam on the Fox River in unincorporated McHenry County, officials said. Two others in the boat survived.

June 16, 2008:

Robert Funston, 18, of Montgomery, drowned in the Fox River. His body was found in the Yorkville dam, seven miles south of Oswego, where he went into the water.

Aug. 18, 2006:

A 19-year-old Pell Lake, Wis. man fleeing police after a traffic stop jumped in the Fox River and drowned in Algonquin. Police threw several flotation devices to John Kotiw, but his head slipped under the water.

July 27, 2006:

Two-year-old Chase Rumachik of South Elgin was found by police divers 75 feet from the western shoreline, about 100 feet downstream from where he most likely slipped into the water. Authorities said he likely ran off from his home.

June 12, 2006:

A 47-year-old Norman C. Lewis of Melrose Park drowned while fishing alone in the Fox River near the South Elgin dam.

June 8, 2006:

A 12-year-old boy drowned north of the Carpentersville dam when he fell off an inflatable raft. Divers found the body of Pedro Solis Morales after a three-hour search.

May 27, 2006:

Two brothers died attempting to rescue a kayaker, who also perished. Craig Fliege got caught as he tried to row his kayak over the Glen D. Palmer Dam near Yorkville. The two brothers, Bruce Sperling, 32, and Mark Sperling, 27, tried to rescue Fliege, but were pulled into the swift water.

July 4, 2004:

A 21-year-old man trying to swim across the Fox River in Elgin drowned when he couldn't make it back to shore. Divers from the Elgin and South Elgin fire departments recovered the body of Reymundo Castillo, who had gone to the river just south of Route 20 for a swim.

Dec. 30, 1999:

Leon Eli “Zach” Tong, 22, of Cary, drowned in the Fox River. Kane County Coroner officials believe Tong may have ended up in the river's icy waters shortly after he was last seen by friends on his way home during the early morning hours. Tong's body was discovered by a couple of fisherman in the river, along the banks of the Buffalo Park Forest Preserve in Algonquin.

June 19, 1997:

A boater drowned in McHenry after he and two friends jumped into the Fox River to cool off. The three had just come through the locks and were north of them when they decided to go for a swim.

Man dies in kayaking accident on Fox River

Fox River low-head dams 'notoriously deadly,' expert says

Swimmer dies in Fox River

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.