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Autopsy results for mine victims may be announced today

More details emerge about the Lodi and Stockton residents who died in scuba accident in Tuolumne County

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Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:06 am, Wed Apr 13, 2011.

Autopsies for Dale Allen Dedic, of Lodi, and Jamie Pollard, of Stockton, who died in an abandoned mine filled with water in Tuolumne County, were scheduled for Tuesday, but results won’t be released until at least today.

Dedic, 34, and Pollard, 37, died while scuba diving in the Harvard Mine Pit near Jamestown on Saturday, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.

Dedic and Pollard were with two other scuba divers when the tragedy occurred on Saturday afternoon. Pollard was rescued that afternoon, but died a short time later at a Sonora hospital, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Wilson.

They were taking underwater pictures and putting boundary lines with nylon rope to ensure safety during a group dive scheduled for May 14 at the Harvard Mine Pit, said Dedic’s father, Joe Dedic, of Jackson.

“The landowner lives at the entrance to the property,” Joe Dedic said. “The group had permission to dive in the pit.”

“A lot of people dive there, and a lot of people swim there,” Wilson said.

The mine pit has fencing around it, Wilson said. It is now closed.

Tom Downer, who teaches scuba diving and other water sports at Bear Creek Aquatics, said Tuesday that he wasn’t familiar with the specifics of Saturday’s incident. However, Downer said that Harvard Mine is a very tough dive.

“You have to be very keenly aware of your depth,” Downer said. “You only have a limited amount of time.”

Downer said he suspects that Dedic and Pollard may have suffered embolisms, where bubbles materialize inside the blood stream and go to the heart or brain.

“It can happen in three feet of water,” Downer said.

Dedic’s body was found in water about 135 feet deep. Downer said he might have run out of air.

Lodi resident Malee Raphael, who has an advanced scuba diving certificate, said she wasn’t at Harvard Pit Mine during the weekend, but she dove one time in the same mine with Dedic.

It has freestanding fresh water, she said, and the walls of the mine are rocky, so the visibility is outstanding.

“You’re not in murky water,” Raphael said.

Raphael and her husband recently did some scuba diving with Dedic in Mexico, and they previously dived off the Monterey coast, Lake Tahoe and local lakes.

Reflecting on Dedic’s and Pollard’s death, Raphael said, “It definitely makes you cautious and re-evaluate life. I will probably dive again, and in honor of the two men.”

Raphael said she doesn’t see any inherent danger in scuba diving.

“There is an element of danger in everything we do, whether it’s snow skiing or driving a car,” she said.

A Tokay High School graduate, Dedic loved anything to do with water, his father said. He fished with his father and grandfather frequently as a child, when he lived with his mother in Jackson. He enjoyed boating, camping and water skiing, Joe Dedic said.

More than four years ago, Dale Dedic devoted most of his time to scuba diving and gave up other water sports, his father said. Dale took rescue diver training and was certified as a master diver.

He also took a recent interest in guitar and drums, according to Rexie LeStrange, Dedic’s aunt.

“Whatever he does, he does 100 percent,” Joe Dedic said.

Born April 7, 1977 at Kaiser Hospital in Hayward, Dedic lived with his family in Lodi before moving to Jackson. After graduating from Tokay, Dedic wanted to become a truck driver. He didn’t enjoy driving trucks, so he became a diesel mechanic, his father said. Dedic was a tow truck driver for Plummer Towing in Lodi before joining San Joaquin Drywall in Stockton, where he was a driver supervisor.

“He was never interested in making a lot of money, just enough to get by,” Joe Dedic said about his son.

Dedic attended San Joaquin Delta College, where he became proficient in computer technology, his father said. Dale became interested in ham radio and was a member of the Lodi Ham Radio Club.

Pollard was married and had two children.

“I met Jamie once or twice; very nice man,” Joe Dedic said.

In addition to his father, Dedic’s survivors include his mother and stepfather, Donna and Keith Cobb, of Lodi; brother, Doug Dedic, of Jackson; and two stepbrothers, Tanner Dayak, of Salida, and Troy Dayak, of Tracy.

Dale Dedic will be cremated, and a memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church in Lodi in early May, according to Joe Dedic. His remains will be taken to Monterey Bay.

Pollard’s funeral is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday at DeYoung Memorial Chapel in Stockton.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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