Football Player Fotu Leiato Found Dead in Bush Near Site of DUI Crash

A former football player was found dead near the site of a DUI crash that had occurred hours earlier.

The Eugene Police Department identified the body of Fotu Tuli Leiato, a 21-year-old former linebacker for the University of Oregon Ducks, after a woman walking by the scene of an early morning DUI crash discovered his body in heavy brush near Autzen Stadium.

"This morning at 6:51 a.m., a woman walking near the area spotted a hand and brush over a person down a gravel path. Police responded and have found a deceased person," the Eugene Police Department wrote in a Facebook post on Friday, June 15, later editing the post to include the victim's name.

Just hours earlier, at 2:31 a.m., authorities responded to the same area following a DUI crash involving Leiato's friend, 22-year-old Pedro Chavarin Jr. Chavarin, who is suspected of drunk driving, rolled his 2014 Kia Sedan off the road. He told authorities that there were no passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Following news of Leiato's death, Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens and head football coach Mario Cristobal released a joint statement on Twitter.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Fotu, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him," the statement read.

Former teammates and other players of the sport also took to social media to remember the star linebacker.

"Deeply sadden to hear about the death of Fotu Leiato. Prayers to his family and friends," Florida State University Head Football Coach Willie Taggart wrote.

"A brother gone to soon. It was a pleasure playing with a warrior like you. Rest easy Fotu Leiato," former Ducks player and current Toronto Argonauts quarterback Dakota Prokop wrote.

"Heart and prayers are with the Leiato family right now as well as the Oregon Football Family after hearing of the loss of Fotu Leiato. May God comfort all those struggling and hurting from the loss of this young man," Morgan Scalley, defensive coordinator for the University of Utah, tweeted.


Leiato played for the University of Oregon Ducks for three seasons, recording 14 tackles his junior year, according to The Oregonian. He was dismissed from the team in May after he was arrested and charged with theft, criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief.