Michael Hastings, the award-winning journalist, had traces of amphetamine and marijuana in his system at the time of his fatal one-vehicle accident on June 18, but the coroner says drug use did not contribute to the accident.
The Los Angeles coroner's office released the results of the autopsy on Tuesday. The report said Hastings died from massive blunt force trauma, consistent with a high-speed crash, and likely died within seconds after the accident, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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The BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone magazine contributor arrived in Los Angeles from New York the day before the accident. His brother was scheduled to arrive later, "as his family was attempting to get (Hastings) to go to detox," the report stated.
Hastings had been sober for 14 years, but began using drugs again over the past month or so before his death, according to family interviews. Investigators found a medical marijuana card in Hastings' wallet after he died. The prescription was for post-traumatic stress, resulting from his time as a war journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the coroner's report.
A person whose name was redacted from the coroner's report told investigators that Hastings had also been using Dimethyltryptamine or DMT, a hallucinogen, according to USA Today
Hastings' 2010 Rolling Stone article "The Runaway General" led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Hastings quoted the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and his staff members making disparaging comments about Vice President Joe Biden and other Obama administration officials.
In his final days, Hastings was worried that the FBI may have been investigating him. The day before the crash, he emailed colleagues, "the Feds are interviewing my 'close friends and associates.'" He warned journalists at Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed that if authorities showed up, it "may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues."
He died at 4:20 a.m. on June 18, when his 2013 Mercedes-Benz C25 hit a tree at high speed. The coroner ruled that the crash was an accident.
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