Aug 20 2013
Journalist Michael Hastings, who was killed in a fiery Los Angeles crash in June, died of “traumatic injuries” as a result of the accident and had traces of drugs in his system, Los Angeles coroner’s officials said Tuesday.
Hastings, 33, died June 18 in a single-vehicle accident. His car burst into flames and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Coroner’s officials said Hastings had traces of amphetamine in his system, consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine many hours before death, as well as marijuana. Neither were considered a factor in the crash, according to toxicology reports.
The cause of death was massive blunt force trauma consistent with a high-speed crash. He likely died within seconds, the report said.
Hastings had arrived in Los Angeles from New York the day before the accident, with his brother scheduled to arrive later the day of the crash “as his family was attempting to get [Hastings] to go to detox,” the report stated.
Hastings was believed sober for 14 years, but had recently begun using drugs again in the past month or so, according to the coroner’s office, based on interviews with family members.
A medical marijuana card was found in Hastings wallet and had been prescribed for treatment of post-traumatic stress resulting from his time as a war journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hours before the crash, Hastings had last been seen by one witness “passed out” sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. The crash occurred just before 5 a.m.