Chautauqua Lake Drowning Victim Identified As Longtime Sheriff’s Captain

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ELLERY – The man who drowned after falling into Chautauqua Lake on Saturday has been identified as a longtime Sheriff’s Office Captain.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office says Captain David Bentley fell into the lake’s water around 1:30 p.m. Saturday while boating near Martha’s Vineyard in the Town of Ellery.

The Fluvanna Fire Department, along with the County Dive Team, Chautauqua County EMS and Sheriffs Deputies responded to the scene.

Bentley was located in the water, unresponsive. He was treated at the scene before being transported to UPMC Chautauqua, where he was later pronounced dead.

An investigation found that Bentley was attempting to board a boat, and for an unknown reason, fell into the lake and was not able to get onto the boat or to shore.

Bentley’s family members and neighbors later located him and started CPR before Fire Department and EMS arrival.

Captain Bentley oversaw the patrol and special teams divisions at the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.

He started working for the Sheriff’s Office in 1985, and previously worked with Town of Ellicott and Fredonia Police Departments.

Captain Bentley worked as a patrol deputy, DWI enforcement detail and then as an investigator with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.

He was then promoted to a Patrol Sergeant and then Patrol Lieutenant.

Bentley was then assigned as the Lieutenant in charge of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force for many years.

He was promoted to Captain in January of 2019.

During his tenure at the Sheriff’s Office, Captain Bentley was in charge of the SWAT Team, was a firearms instructor and also taught numerous topics at the Sheriff’s Academy.

Captain Bentley was also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Session 236.

Bentley is survived by his wife Kim, children Erik and Kaitlyn, and his grandson Sawyer.


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