A roadside memorial was erected by family and friends for Cody West just above the Los Carneros Road culvert where his body was found in May. The 22-year-old Goleta man had been missing for several days, and had last been seen leaving a nearby party. His death was ruled an accident by the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Bureau. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

A 22-year-old Goleta man whose body was found underneath his car in a concrete culvert in May died in a freak accident, according to an autopsy report released Thursday by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The body of Cody West, who had been the subject of an intensive week-long search, was discovered the morning of May 1 in the drainage culvert running underneath Los Carneros Road, between Highway 101 and Calle Real in Goleta.

Blunt-force injuries were listed as the cause of death in the coroner’s report, which indicates West suffered multiple injuries, including “severe head trauma.”

From the time he was found, there were questions about how West’s car, which showed signs of damage, ended up in the culvert with West pinned underneath.

The coroner’s report states that the accident occurred as West was attempting to push his 1999 Audi A4 Quatro sedan, which was off the street and above the culvert.

“He somehow placed himself behind the vehicle and was forced off the roadway, falling from the downward sloping greenbelt and landing in the bottom of the drainage canal,” according to the report.

West’s car left the roadway as well, falling into the culvert and landing on top of him, the report states.

“This conclusion was arrived at after careful consideration and review of the evidence at the scene,” the report said, adding that investigators had conducted several re-enactments.

The autopsy report does not indicate how the car came to be above the culvert.

After West disappeared, his family and friends organized a systematic search of where he might have gone after leaving a party near Lake Los Carneros on April 26.

The Sheriff’s Department assisted in the extensive, multiday hunt, and the county’s Air Support Unit helicopter had conducted aerial searches for several days, as well.

West’s car and body were discovered by a volunteer searcher.

Officials say West was last seen alive in the early morning hours of April 26, leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion east of Lake Los Carneros Park​, officials said. He was found about a mile away.

A toxicology report revealed that alcohol as well as prescription drugs and metabolites of cocaine were present in West’s bloodstream at the time of his death, but does not address whether the substances were a factor in the accident.

The report also details interviews conducted with both of West’s parents.

West’s father, David, told the investigator that his son had been seen last at 3:30 a.m. April 26, when he told friends he was going to take a cab or an Uber to get home.

“It is believed that the decedent drove away from the party in his vehicle,” the report states.

West’s mother also told investigators that her son had been in good spirits and was very excited about his newly purchased car, but that he had had some problems with the car’s clutch and had to pay $2,000 to have it repaired.

“She explained that he did not have a lot of experience driving the stick shift car,” the report states. “(Cody West) had owned the car approximately two weeks, and the car was in the shop for the majority of the time he owned it.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper

— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.