Drowning was the cause of death for Michael Ray Rast, a 57-year-old homeless man identified by the county coroner as the person who got submerged in a stretch of the Salinas River in Paso Robles last Friday night.
Rast was with two other homeless men who fell asleep on a sandbar in the river, according to authorities. They awoke to find water rushing around them, the result of that day’s rains. The river was a nearly 40-foot-wide torrent at the time.
Rast was pulled out of the water by rescuers at the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Niblick Road. He was unresponsive to paramedics.
Tests are still to be done to determine whether Rast was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.