Coroner's Report: No Foul Play in Hastings Death

Image: Coroner's Report: No Foul Play in Hastings Death

Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013 12:18 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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No foul play was involved in the death of journalist Michael Hastings, despite some theories that his car crash in Los Angeles in June may have been related to some controversial stories he wrote, including one in 2010 that led to the resignation of the top American general in Afghanistan.

According to the Los Angeles coroner's office he died of traumatic injuries but did have traces of amphetamines and marijuana in his system, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Hastings, 33, died on June 18 after his car burst into flames during a single-vehicle accident, the Times reported. The amphetamine use was consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine many hours before Hastings died, toxicology reports said. But neither that nor the use of marijuana were considered as a factor in the deadly crash, even though the coroner's report noted that Hastings' family had been "attempting to get [him] to go to detox" after they discovered that he had begun using drugs again after 14 years of being sober.

The report concluded that Hastings likely died within seconds of the crash, and his cause of death was listed as massive blunt force trauma.

Hastings had been prescribed medical marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress following his time as a war correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan. A medical marijuana card was found in his wallet after the accident.

After his death, conspiracy theories started popping up linking the crash to his reporting and a possible investigation by the government. In what was described as an "unusual" move by the Associated Press, the FBI released a statement saying that he was never the subject of an investigation.

One of his most well-known articles was written for Rolling Stone in 2010. Called "The Runaway General," it led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. In the article, the general and his staff were quoted offering their less than favorable views of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other top administration officials.

But despite the conspiracy theories, his family accepted the incident as a "really tragic accident" and nothing more. The  Los Angeles Police Department also concluded in their investigation that there were no signs of foul play.

"You know my gut here, was that it was just a really tragic accident, and I'm very unlucky, and the world was very unlucky," Hastings' widow, Elise Jordan, told CNN's Piers Morgan in a recent interview.





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