PITTSBURG -- The body of a 56-year-old Pittsburg man who was reported missing Tuesday was found strapped into the driver's seat of a car pulled from the Contra Costa Canal late Wednesday morning, police said.

A Contra Costa County Coroner's deputy identified the man as Dennis Sandoval on Wednesday afternoon.

Foul play is not suspected and the death appears to be an accident, officials said.

A Delta View Golf Course employee dialed 911 about 9:30 a.m. after spotting a turquoise sedan in the water off Leland Road between Range Road and John Henry Johnson Parkway, police said.

When rescue crews arrived at the scene, they found the car upside-down in the water, completely submerged.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District's water rescue team pulled the car from the canal about 11:30 a.m. and found Sandoval inside. Police said he was wearing a seat belt.

Pittsburg police Lt. Ron Raman said the sedan was traveling east on Leland Road when it appeared to have drifted off the road, knocking down a metal fence post before entering the water. The car's estimated speed was not known.

Police and fire crews are attempting to determine when the crash occurred.

Sandoval's relatives contacted Pittsburg police Tuesday night when he didn't come home after work.

Sandoval had called his family from the Pittsburg BART station around 5 p.m. to let them know he was on his way, but when he still hadn't shown up by 11 p.m. they reported him missing.


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Officers searched the BART station and surrounding areas for Sandoval and his vehicle as well as entered his name in a nationwide database. Police notified his family today after identifying him as the driver of the vehicle in the canal.

During the recovery, Contra Costa Water District officials lowered the canal's water level to determine if anyone else had been inside the car. Before the crash the water was about 5½ feet deep, district spokeswoman Jennifer Allen said.

As of noon, the district had reduced the flow of the water and dropped the level by about two feet.

The coroner has scheduled an autopsy Thursday to determine the cause of death.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.