Paso Robles police identify man found dead on railroad tracks

Paso Robles police on Tuesday identified a man whose body was found on railroad tracks south of downtown.

Donald Frank Hughes, 70, of Paso Robles was found Friday morning on the tracks near 6th and Pine streets next to his bicycle, according to a Paso Robles Police Department news release.

Hughes was the longtime owner of Claassen’s Radiator Shop at 1534 Spring St., according to publicly available mortgage records.

Friends remembered Hughes on social media as Paso Robles celebrity “Radiator Don” and described him as a kind man with a big heart.

He lost the shop in May 2018 after San Luis Obispo County officials sold it to Atascadero Enterprises LLC at a tax auction, according to court records. Hughes was formally evicted from the property in July.

Donald Hughes rides a motorcycle in this undated photo. Hughes’ body was found on Friday, May 17, 2019, on railroad tracks in Paso Robles. He was later pronounced dead at the scene. Courtesy of Mike Carter

Emergency personnel found Hughes with a small amount of blood above his left eye and on his cheek, and it appeared as though he had fallen off his bicycle.

Hughes received medical attention, but he was eventually pronounced dead at the scene. His autopsy showed Hughes died of natural causes, according to the release.

Hughes had not been struck by a train, and there were no obvious signs of foul play. However, police initially treated his death as suspicious, pending autopsy results.

Anyone with information about Hughes or anyone involved in the incident is encouraged to call the Paso Robles Police Department at 805-237-6464 or Crime Stoppers at 805-549-7867.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.