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'Buckwild' Star Dies; Was 'Mudding' Accident to Blame?

MTV's "Buckwild" star Shain Gandee was found dead inside a sport utility vehicle that was partially submerged in a deep mud pit near his West Virginia home.

Gandee's uncle and another man also died in the SUV, which had apparently gotten stuck in the mud, reports The Associated Press. Police do not suspect foul play.

Gandee, 21, had a penchant for outdoor activities, and "mudding," or driving off-road in muddy conditions, appeared to be a big part of his life. In fact, in the first episode of "Buckwild," Gandee ruined his truck's motor by going mudding.

The "Buckwild" star's death is still under investigation. One theory is that the SUV's muffler was submerged in mud with the engine still running; if that happened, Shain Gandee and the two others may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, the AP reports.

Mudding can be a dangerous activity, and Gandee's death may serve as a reminder about its potential consequences. In some places, there are laws against mudding: For example, some state and local laws prohibit mudding in certain areas or at certain times, as the Sanford News of Maine has reported.

Other jurisdictions prohibit mudding completely, if the driving is off of demarcated roads and may disturb wildlife or pose a hazard to anyone, including the driver.

In addition, federal law also prohibits operating any vehicle off-road in a manner that damages or unreasonably disturbs federal land, wildlife, or vegetative resources. Individuals caught violating the law typically face a fine.

Individuals who participate in mudding should also be aware that they may be liable in a lawsuit for any property damage or personal injury that they may cause.

Shain Gandee is the third cast member of MTV's "Buckwild" to recently make headlines. In February, co-star Salwa Amin was busted for drug possession while another co-star, Michael Douglas Burford, was charged with DUI, according to the AP.

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