SWEET HOME, Ore. — A 19-year-old Silverton man died late Friday night after falling off a 50-foot embankment at Green Peter Reservoir, deputies say.
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office says Michael Staab was camping with his girlfriend, 18-year-old Dana Buck of Corvallis, on Quartzville Road near Sweet Home. Deputies say Buck called 911 about a quarter after 11 pm, saying that Staab had fallen off a steep embankment into the water. Both the Benton and Linn County Sheriff’s Offices responded to the couple’s roadside campsite, as did the Sweet Home Fire Department.
“At about 11 pm, he had walked up towards an embankment,” said Linn County Undersheriff Bruce Riley. “Ms. Buck had stepped away to the vehicle to retrieve some items, and when she returned, he was gone.”
Undersheriff Riley says around 1 am Saturday morning, rescue divers found Staab’s body approximately 50 feet offshore.
Investigators say they believe alcohol was a contributing factor, but more importantly, deputies say it is important to always be aware of one’s surroundings.
“It’s a stark reminder that we all have to be very careful in what we do and where we go late at night,” said Undersheriff Riley.
Staab’s girlfriend says she is having a difficult time coping, and that’s she’s keeping his family and friends in her prayers.
“He was very sweet and caring; determined and thoughtful,” Buck said. “He put his family first. He was gentle and had a smile that could light up the world.”
She said Staab was a 2012 Silverton High School graduate, who enjoyed camping, fishing, and swimming. He was studying at Chemeketa Community College, hoping to eventually transfer to Oregon State University for agribusiness.
“I’ll miss him very very much,” Buck said. “I’m so grateful for the time I did have with him. He’s the kind of man a mother would want her daughter to be with.”