Autopsy results await to determine cause of University of Oregon student’s death

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office is waiting for an autopsy report as well toxicology results to determine the cause of death of a University of Oregon student who died while camping at Shasta Lake.

On Saturday, Cal Fire and the Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety personnel responded to Gooseneck Campground, around 8:50 a.m. for a report of a young man found in a sleeping bag inside a small tent by other students, no longer breathing.

After life saving techniques were used, 21-year-old Dylan Pietrs was pronounced dead on scene.

Investigators reported that on Friday the student was drinking alcohol during the day before going to his tent in the early evening. It is not yet clear whether or not alcohol caused Pietrs’ death. Deputy Sheriff Ray Hughes with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Boating Safety Division said they’ll be able to determine the cause of death with the combination of an autopsy and toxicology report.

Regardless, the Boating Safety Division is overly stressing to lake goers that alcohol consumption and water activities can be dangerous.

“This is a tragic situation that happened,” Hughes said noting the sheriff’s department had five boating units patrolling the lake and positive contact with the students on shore, something terrible managed to happen.

Gooseneck campground is 1.3 miles north of “Slaughterhouse Island,” an island on Shasta Lake, known for bringing in college students or the party crowd and is only accessible by boat.

Law enforcement still emphasizes that alcohol may not have played a factor into Pietrs’ death, but he cautions other students.

“It’s a matter of watching out for your fellow students. If someone’s in distress or drinking a lot of alcohol, they shouldn’t be left alone because you have chances of them having the issue of vomiting, aspirating. That could cause serious injury or death,” Hughes affirmed.

The University of Oregon released a statement on Pietrs’ passing over the weekend:

“As devastating as this sudden passing is, it is important to point out that this tragedy is connected to an unauthorized tradition among many college students. Students from many institution have a history of demonstrating poor life choices during visits of Lake Shasta. These activities are contrary to the values of the university and fraternity and sorority organizations.”

That statement was then revised after it was called disgusting and insensitive.

The sheriff’s department adds that deputies also responded to multiple head injuries over the weekend, involving U of O students.

For Memorial Day weekend the sheriff’s office will have twice as many deputies on the lake.

Investigators are reporting that there is no sign of foul play and that the death does not appear to be suspicious in nature.

To read the revised version of the university’s response, click here.