Shasta County Coroner’s Office releases UO student’s cause of death

Shasta Lake. (psyberartist/Creative Commons)

The 21-year-old University of Oregon student who died at Shasta Lake last May was killed by asphyxiation, according to a Shasta County Coroner’s report released Wednesday. The report lists acute alcohol intoxication as “a significant contributing condition.”

Laboratory tests from the report indicated that the student, Dylan Pietrs, had a blood alcohol content of .227. As a point of reference, a blood alcohol content of .08 indicates that a person is unable to operate a motor vehicle by law in the state of California and Oregon.

Police officials suspect no foul play and the report listed the death as an accident.  

A narrative report from the county’s coroner investigator said that Pietrs and his friends had originally set up his tent on high ground the evening of the incident. His body was recovered by friends the next morning at the bottom of the hill.

The report stated that the tent was the cause of the mechanical asphyxia, a medical term meaning that Pietrs was unable to breathe due to his body’s “position and/or external pressure was applied to his body.”

According to the report, the position Pietrs’ body was found in “likely significantly impaired his breathing, and because of his alcohol intoxication, he was unable to respond to and remove himself from that position in time.”

No commonly abused drugs were detected in the autopsy, the reported stated.

“Shasta Weekend” is an event attended by hundreds of UO students at Shasta Lake in Northern California and is heavily attended by the university’s Greek community. Pietrs was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Several students have died at Lake Shasta over the years, with the two most recent deaths of a UO student and an Oregon State student occurring in May 2005.

Michael is one of the Emerald's associate news editors. He does investigative work as well as stories about the UO Administration. Drop him a tip: [email protected]

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