- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GRIMES, Iowa (AP) - The death of an Oskaloosa woman who was found in a creek near a wrecked car last month has been ruled an accident.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that the cause of 45-year-old Sallie West’s death was determined to be fresh water drowning, with hypothermia and acute ethanol intoxication as contributing factors.

Police found a car submerged in a creek on Feb. 27 near Grimes with no one inside. West’s body was later discovered nearby, but not immediately identified. West had been reported missing Feb. 23.

Authorities say evidence and witness statements gathered throughout the investigation led them to believe that West had been driving erratically when her vehicle rolled in reverse down a steep hill into the creek. Authorities say they’re unsure how West exited the vehicle.

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