Press Releases

May 8th Drowning in Stock Pond

On 05/07/2017 at approximately 5:16 PM the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office, McKenzie County Rural Fire Department, McKenzie County Ambulance Service, and Valley Med Flight responded to a report of an 18 year old male who was drowning at a stock pond located near 126th Ave NW and 37th ST NW. The male was identified by family members who were present as Ben Johnston. Upon arrival of law enforcement Ben Johnston had been submerged for roughly fifteen minutes already.  A short time later McKenzie County Rural Fire Department Fire Fighters arrived and began searching the pond.  

The father of Ben Johnston also began having chest pains and was taken to the McKenzie County Health Care Hospital in Watford City, ND, where he was treated and released.  At approximately 6:35PM Ben Johnston was located on the bottom of the stock dam and was recovered by fire fighters.  Ben Johnston was unresponsive as he was placed in an ambulance where paramedics from the McKenzie County Ambulance Service and flight medics from Valley Med Flight attempted life saving measures while in route to the hospital.  At approximately 7:30 PM Ben Johnston was pronounced deceased and family notifications were made.  

Ben Johnston was removed from the hospital by the McKenzie County Coroner and there will be an autopsy on 05/09/2017 at the Medical Examiner’s Office in Bismarck, ND.  This incident is believed to be an accidental drowning at this point, however this is still an open case pending findings from the medical examiner. The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all first responders involved in this incident for their valiant efforts and we also would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Ben Johnston following this tragedy.
Investigating Department:
McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office


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