Man who died at Burnside Lake had drugs in system |

Man who died at Burnside Lake had drugs in system

Staff Reports
Scott NeufferThe sign at Picketts Junction showing Burnside Lake Road.

A Gardnerville resident had methamphetamine and THC in his system when he died of exposure at Burnside Lake last fall, an autopsy revealed.Roderick Paul Clifton, 44, died of hypothermia according to El Dorado Pathology due to prolonged exposure.Alpine Undersheriff Robert Levy announced that the cause of death was consistent with the scene where Clifton’s body was found.Toxicology reports revealed the drugs, Levy said. Clifton and Gardnerville resident Paula Lane drove to Burnside Lake on Nov. 29, 2012, on their way home from a visit to California where Clifton had acquired a 1989 Jeep.He drove the Jeep from Pickett’s Junction, around a locked gate, and seven miles to Burnside Lake where the vehicle became mired in the mud just before a snowstorm struck. With no cell phone reception, the couple was trapped and no one knew where they were.Lane said Clifton tried to walk down Burnside Lake Road for help on the morning of Nov. 30 as snow was falling. After spending three nights alone in the vehicle, Lane tried to walk out through 3 feet of snow, coming across Clifton’s body about a mile from the Jeep.She spent the next two nights in the wilderness until her brother commandeered a CalTrans frontloader and drove up the road to find her on Dec. 5.