South Tahoe man dies drowning, coroner says |

South Tahoe man dies drowning, coroner says

William Ferchland

A 20-year-old who was pronounced dead at Barton Memorial Hospital, after his body was pulled from Lake Tahoe near Timber Cove Pier, died from asphyxiation due to drowning, a coroner reported.

The autopsy on Oscar Moreno was completed Tuesday afternoon, a day after Moreno succumbed to Lake Tahoe. Although witnesses said beer cans were found on the pier, a toxicology report due in several weeks will reveal whether alcohol was in his system when he drowned, according to El Dorado County sheriff’s Coroner Larry Olsen.

Around 8 p.m. Monday, Moreno was seen swimming to an unoccupied, anchored boat near the pier and tried to get into the boat from the water, witnesses reported.

Moreno’s attempts failed.

Jeff Jallo of Vessel Assist said he heard reports of the drowning from his radio at his home in Tahoe Keys. He said it took him six minutes to get to the pier where he picked up South Lake Tahoe fire fighter Rob Hembree. A quick search found Moreno’s body, clad only in blue shorts, face-up in about 6 feet of water, Jallo said.

Jallo suited Hembree in dive gear while he prepped the boat for the body’s recovery, Jallo said.

The U.S. Coast Guard listed the surface temperature of the top 3 feet of the lake at 64 degrees.

Moreno played football at South Tahoe High School. He played primarily defense, at the position of nose guard which is typically reserved for players with bulk and a no-fear mentality.

During the 2004 season, Moreno was listed at 5-foot-9-inches tall weighing 185 pounds. Former teammate Nick Garratt remembered Moreno as having a big heart who worked hard in shoulder pads.

“He was always on the field,” Garratt said. “He gave no mercy.” Garratt recalled Moreno, himself and two other players calling themselves the “war daddies.”

Garratt also remembered his friend as not being a good swimmer.

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