GARDINER — A man gave authorities a false name after he after he and two other men on all-terrain vehicles fell into the Kennebec River late Tuesday night and he was hospitalized for hypothermia.

The man gave a false name to Gardiner police — Aaron Cote, 21, of Rumford — and his true identity is unknown, Warden Troy Thibodeau said Thursday.

The man, who is believed to be from New Hampshire, did not face charges in connection with the accident, Thibodeau said.

“He was just a witness,” Thibodeau said.

The other two men who were driving the ATVs do face charges. Brian Cray, 22, of Gardiner, was charged with operating an unregistered ATV and operating to endanger, while Brett Ellis, 24, of Gardiner, was charged with operating under the influence and operating an unregistered ATV, Thibodeau said.

Ellis and Cray told police they didn’t know the other man’s name, Thibodeau said.

The three men were riding two ATVs when they sunk into the river. Responders were called about 9:45 p.m.

Cray and the unidentified man were able to get out of the water on their own to get help, but Ellis remained trapped roughly 50 yards off shore near River Avenue.

Gardiner Fire and Rescue, assisted by Gardiner police and Maine State Police, used ropes and cold-water gear to get to Ellis and pull him to the riverbank. None of the rescuers was injured.


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