Drugs Not a Factor in Journalist Michael Hastings' Car Crash Death: Coroner's Report

His death was "instantaneous," and traces of methamphetamine and marijuana found in his system probably didn't contribute to it, the coroner's report said.

By Tami Abdollah
|  Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013  |  Updated 5:23 PM PDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
2013 In Memoriam: James Avery

AP

This undated photo provided by Blue Rider Press/Penguin shows award-winning journalist and war correspondent Michael Hastings. Hastings, an award-winning journalist and war correspondent, died early Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in a car accident in Los Angeles, his employer and family said. (AP Photo/Blue Rider Press/Penguin)

advertisement

An autopsy report released Tuesday found traces of amphetamine and marijuana in the body of journalist Michael Hastings but said it likely did not contribute to his death in a fiery single-car crash.

Coroner's investigators said the 33-year-old Hastings was believed to be using the hallucinogenic DMT recently, though it wasn't detected in a blood test. He was found with a medicinal marijuana identity card in his wallet.

Hastings died instantly of massive blunt force trauma when he apparently lost control of his 2013 silver Mercedes while traveling at high speed and hit a tree in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.

Photos and Videos

Influential Journalist Killed in Car Crash

Journalist Michael Hastings, whose blunt Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal led to the resignation of the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, died Tuesday in a car crash in Los Angeles, according to the magazine and a website for which he worked. Angie Crouch reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
More Photos and Videos

The report provided the first official details on the June death of the award-winning journalist who won a 2010 George Polk Award for his Rolling Stone magazine cover story "The Runaway General," which led to the resignation of U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal as U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Hastings' death fed conspiracy theories and prompted the FBI to release an unusual statement that it had not been investigating Hastings. The crash occurred in the early morning and was caught on at least one video camera that showed Hastings driving rapidly through a red light.

Investigators said Hastings had arrived with family from New York the day before the crash, and a brother was due to arrive in town that same morning to try to persuade him to go to detox. Investigators were told by family that after 14 years of being "sober," Hastings had started to use drugs again since his recent move from New York to California.

Toxicology results showed small amounts of amphetamine in his blood, which indicated he had possibly taken methamphetamine many hours before his death. Traces of marijuana were also present, indicating he'd taken it hours earlier.

The report said Hastings had hit a pole while driving several years ago and was possibly misusing Ritalin at the time. He was later institutionalized for rehabilitative care.

A family member told investigators Hastings believed he was invincible and could jump off a balcony and be OK.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Running Dry
Coverage of the California drought. Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out