A Modesto man who only days earlier celebrated his college graduation died at the Lightning in a bottle music festival at Lake San Antonio over Memorial Day weekend — the second death at the event in as many years.
Tyler Schripsema, 23, died on Sunday, May 27, after dislocating his neck while swimming in Lake San Antonio. His mother, Lisa Schripsema, said the initial autopsy indicated her son died from an injury to his spinal column.
"I don't know if he fell and hit his head," she said. "It was such a freak accident."
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Schripsema graduated from Stanislaus State University last week, hoping to use his bachelor's degree in business administration to work on philanthropic efforts that could develop long-term solutions to help homeless people.
The young college graduate was attending the music festival with friends. The event had about 37,000 attendees this year, LA Weekly reported.
A year ago, Baylee Gatlin, 20, of Ventura, died of multi-organ failure, hyperthermia and dehydration after ingesting drugs, including the hallucinogen LSD, at the festival. Gatlin's family is now suing the event's promoter over her death.
Lisa Schripsema said her son attended the event last year and loved it. This year, Tyler planned on volunteering to help take down the various booths after the festival was done.
On Sunday evening, Tyler had just finished cooking for others on the camping grounds and apparently had gone into the lake to cool off, when the accident occurred.
Tyler Schripsema was alone in the water when he was injured and immediately went into cardiac arrest, his mother said. A group of people along the shore quickly performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation to try to revive him. He was taken by ambulance to a Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, where he later died.
Lisa Schripsema said there was no indication Tyler was intoxicated or was trying to dive into the water. She said her son would've known that it would be too dangerous for him to jump into that shallow area of the lake only a few feet deep
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office conducted Schripsema's autopsy. Sheriff's spokesman Tony Cipolla said Friday afternoon that the cause of death is still pending. He said investigators are awaiting toxicology results, which typically take six to eight weeks.
Tyler Schripsema was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity and its philanthropy chairman. Fellow fraternity members created a GoFundMe page to collect donations to help pay for the funeral expenses. The group has raised more than $12,000 in pledged donations as of Friday afternoon.