Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department officials confirmed reports and updated a previous story that a person drowned during Memorial Day weekend at Woodward Reservoir Regional Park outside of Oakdale on Saturday, May 23.
Sheriff’s Lieutenant Larry Seymour of the sheriff’s Special Vehicle Operations Unit (SVOU) said the victim, Jose Ricardo Quinones, 37, of Lathrop, was with family and friends around 4:30 that afternoon and swam out to retrieve a beach ball that floated away from the lakeside.
“When he got out there, he started flailing about and calling for help.” Seymour said. “They may have thought he was kidding around.”
Seymour said one individual swam out to Quinones and another person used a personal watercraft to rescue Quinones who was about 150 feet off shore.
Despite efforts to resuscitate Quinones by deputies and others for about 30 minutes, by the time paramedics arrived, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lt. Seymour said alcohol intake by Quinones may have been a factor but toxicology results would not be available for a few weeks.
This was the first drowning of the year at Woodward Reservoir.
“Tragically, this is yet another case of a preventable drowning, Sheriff Adam Christianson said in an email release of the incident. “The victim was not a proficient swimmer and was not wearing a personal flotation device. Our team partnered with Parks and Recreation, to provide personal flotation devices at our reservoir locations to increase safety. Despite our best efforts to remind people in the community to use personal flotation devices, these tragedies still occur.”
Lt. Seymour recommended swimmers know their limitations and limit alcohol consumption as well as wear a life jacket when in the water.
“If it’s just a beach ball you might just reconsider letting it go and buy another one,” Seymour added.