CSU student death

Dec 122004
Authors: Jon Pilsner

Fort Collins police are investigating the death of a 20-year-old male CSU student who was found dead Saturday morning in a house across the street from campus.

The cause of death is under investigation, but there are no signs of foul play. The investigation is focused on alcohol and/or drugs.

Bennett Bertoli, a freshman open-option seeking business major, was found dead Saturday morning by residents of 1201 S. Shields St., according to Fort Collins Police Services.

Rita Davis, spokeswoman for FCPS, said police received a call at 11:29 a.m. Saturday from a resident at the house who reported he was unable to wake Bertoli, who had been sleeping on a couch.

The Larimer County medical examiner performed an autopsy Sunday, but its findings have not been released pending toxicology test results.

"We don't know the cause of death. We have a good idea but we don't know for sure," said Associated Students of CSU President Katie Clausen.

An empty beer bottle, several plastic cups and a cardboard beer case were on the lawn of the house Saturday afternoon. At least seven cars were parked in the gravel driveway.

Bertoli did not live at the residence where his body was found. Residents of the house declined to comment.

CSU President Larry Penley released a statement saying the university is working closely with Fort Collins police to determine what happened.

"Obviously, this is a tragedy," Penley said. "If this incident is alcohol- or drug-related, it is precisely the kind of incident that caused us to form the task force, and why the important work of the task force will and must continue."

Clausen said she hopes the name of the student, friends and the family will not be subject to slander.

"The students who found him have to just grieve," Clausen said.

Bertoli is the second CSU student to die this semester. CSU sophomore Samantha Spady died on Sept. 5 of acute alcohol poisoning. Alcohol has been a contributing factor in five Colorado student deaths this school year.

The death comes as CSU students prepare for finals before going on Winter Break.

"(Students) need to focus on their studies and not get caught up in a rumor mill," Clausen said. "It was a rude awakening to those who may have forgotten (Spady)."

Clausen said she and Penley were working on a program to help educate students on alcohol poisoning.

"The issue of alcohol and substance abuse has been very widely discussed on our campus and at colleges around the country," Penley wrote in his statement. "It is more clear than ever that our students must take care and responsibility for each other and for their actions."

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