Press Release


Sheriff's Deputies recover the body of a 60 year old Everett man from Yakima River

Kittitas County, WA - 07/18/2017 - At approximately 1:30 PM Kitttitas County Deputies and Fire & Rescue Crews were dispatched to a marine incident on the Yakima River near MP 16 on SR 821, about 12 miles south of Ellensburg.

60 year old Charles F. Lackey of Everett had been kayaking with his wife Cathy when he fell out of his kayak while trying  to make it to shore near the Umptanum Recreation area. 

Initial information indicates Mr. Lackey was wearing a life jacket, but took it off as he prepared to paddle to the shoreline where he and his wife were going to stop for lunch. His wife, who was out of her Kayak and on shore, saw him grab a branch in an effort to stop and exit the river, this caused him to capsize.  She got back in her Kayak to assist, but was unable to locate him.

A short time later another group in a raft found Mr. Lackey near the “Smiley Face” painted rock, down-river.  Mr. Lackey was unconscious and brought to shore.  Life saving measures were tried by witnesses as well as Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue personnel, however he did not survive.

"It is our understanding that this trip was the couple's vacation to celebrate Mr. Lackey's recent retirement. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they cope with this tragedy."

" The Sheriffs Office would like to encourage people to wear life jackets and stay vigilant in identifying and avoiding potential hazards while on moving water. There are some exceptional resources on water safety on line through the Washington State Parks.

Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at


Contact: Clayton Myers, Undersheriff