A positive identification is awaited for the man found dead beside a car near the construction zone area at Interstate 40 and U.S. 177 Monday morning, but investigators believe they have pieced together details involved in the tragic death.

A positive identification is awaited for the man found dead beside a car near the construction zone area at Interstate 40 and U.S. 177 Monday morning, but investigators believe they have pieced together details involved in the tragic death.

The body was found face down beside a white Ford Taurus way below the highway and not visible to highway traffic. Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said investigators believe the vehicle had been there since before the weekend rains began.

Construction crews early Monday morning spotted the vehicle east of the construction zone area along old U.S. 270 underneath I-40 and first called the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. With no signs of a traffic accident, the case was turned over to the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's Task Force and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Booth said once the medical examiner arrived, they determined there were no signs of trauma on the body, but investigators did get a search warrant for the vehicle and processed the area as a crime scene.

“We gathered all the evidence we could,” he said, but at this time, there appears to be no foul play involved.

Based on the vehicle's registration, Booth said they tracked down the owner, who had sold the vehicle a family member. That information, along with tattoos on the person, resulted in authorities making a preliminary identification of a man in his 30s, but Undersheriff Travis Palmer said they aren't releasing that man's name until the identity is confirmed through the state Medical Examiner's office.

Booth said once they visited with relatives of the possible decedent, investigators also learned he had a lot of health concerns.

“He'd been in the hospital about a month and got out a few days ago,” Booth said. The man also reportedly sent a text message Saturday that he would be attending a birthday party in the area, Booth said, but he apparently didn't show up.

The Undersheriff said they believe the man was driving into Shawnee from Dale when he came across the construction on Old Highway 270 where the roadway is closed going under I-40.

While the rain washed away a lot of tracks, Palmer said it appears he drove around the barricades on the north side of I-40 in the ditch and apparently got stuck and tried to turn around, but ended up stuck on a high center.

Due to his medical condition, Booth said deputies believe he likely collapsed beside the car.

Palmer, who said the man used oxygen, said there were empty oxygen bottles at the scene as well.

And while an official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner, Booth said investigators believe the man's medical condition was a factor.

“There's nothing suspicious in nature that we're looking at,” the sheriff said about the case, but added they'll wait and see what the autopsy report shows.