COULEE CITY, Grant County — A 10-year-old Ephrata boy was driving a car that plunged into a large canal about seven miles south of Coulee City on March 30, killing the boy’s father and 8-year-old brother, Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said Monday.

The boy’s father, Scott Kolves, 45, was teaching him to drive on the canal right of way that day.

“Scott was in the passenger seat. When he realized they were in trouble, he grabbed the steering wheel in an attempt to keep the vehicle on the canal road,” Jones said.

The 8-year-old was swept away in the canal, along with his father. The 10-year-old and his 12-year-old brother were rescued by two fishermen. Their 8-year-old brother, Korey, was pulled from the canal by a law-enforcement officer but died at the hospital.

Scott Kolves’ body has not been recovered.

The irrigation canal
is about 50 yards wide and 40 feet deep where the car went in, officials said.

The determination that the 10-year-old was driving was made after investigators talked to the surviving brothers and examined the car, said Kyle Foreman, a spokesman for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. “The driver’s-side seat had been moved all the way forward, indicating a small person in the seat,” he said.

“Scott loved his sons,” Jones said. “Everybody we talk to lets us know how much he loved his sons. Spending time with them — especially fishing — was the highlight of his life. Scott’s last outing was centered on the love for his sons and enjoying time with them. There are no criminal charges. This was an accident.

“I again ask the community to refrain from any judgment and to please focus on supportive behavior for the Kolves family. Please care for the survivors and help them heal from this awful accident.”