Story updated @ 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 5
The Highland Police Department announced Tuesday evening that the body of 86 year old Eugene “Popeye” Kovach, of Highland, had been found earlier that afternoon at one of his favorite fishing spots. The location was a private lake outside the city limits of Highland in Madison County. Police say Kovach was familiar with the lake and visited there often.
Kovach was reported missing Monday after leaving his home to go fishing. According to Madison County Coroner Stephen P. Nonn, Kovach’s truck was found submerged in the water and upon further investigation, his body was found inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:55 p.m.
An autopsy was scheduled in an attempt to explain if Mr. Kovach suffered a medical event while behind the wheel that would allow the truck to roll into the lake. He was an insulin dependent diabetic and took heart medication.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department and Madison County Coroner’s Office are investigating, but both have indicated that at present it appears Mr. Kovach was the victim of a tragic accident.
The Highland Police Department, the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the O’Fallon Underwater Search and Rescue Team were involved in the search for Kovach.
The family has extended their thanks to the community for the outpouring of support.