Autopsy Results Confirm Drowning Over Weekend on Lake Hartwell

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Autopsy results are back on the Hartwell man who died while swimming in Lake Hartwell Saturday.

54-year old Dennis Baker of the Reed Creek Community in Hartwell died around 7:30 p.m. last Saturday evening while swimming with friends at the old Reed Creek Boat Ramp.

Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland said he received the autopsy results back Monday.

“The autopsy results revealed that it was an accidental drowning,” said Cleveland. “We thought it might have been a heart attack or fatigue but it was not.”

Cleveland said Baker was out with friends Saturday fishing and swimming.

He said Baker was no stranger to Lake Hartwell and had lived in the Reed Creek area all of his life.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Officer Craig Fulgum said this is the first drowning on the Georgia side of Lake Hartwell this year.

He added with the lake at full pool, more people will be swimming and even if you are a good swimmer, it is important to wear a life jacket whenever you are in the water and have someone with you at all times.

According to Fulgum, people trying to swim out to a buoy or raft or island can easily be fooled and think that the object is closer than it actually is. As a result, he said a swimmer can get over tired and go under.