Drowning ruled as accidental

Drowning ruled as accidental by M. Jill Sundstrom The Clay County Sheriff's Department has ruled that the drowning of a Vermillion man last month was accidental.

The body of Christopher Oakie, 21, was found May 23 in the Vermillion River between Vermillion and Burbank at Walker's Landing. His identity was confirmed following an autopsy performed by Dr. Brad Randall in Sioux Falls on May 24. Lab tests were also performed, and results were sent to the sheriff's department June 23.

"Tests from LCM Lab in Sioux Falls indicate the presence of alcohol in his system," said Deputy Andy Howe. "We believe he was intoxicated at the time he fell into the river and foul play has been ruled out."

Howe added that law enforcement officials located where Oakie had fallen � beneath the Dakota Street bridge, across the river from Cotton Park.

"He was walking alone and part of the bank caved in," Howe said. "At that point, the river drops off sharply to 15 feet deep."

It has been determined that Oakie fell into the Vermillion River May 15.

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