LOS ANGELES (AP) — After 14 years of sobriety, journalist Michael Hastings had returned to drugs and had traces of amphetamine and marijuana in his system when he drove his car into a tree hours after he was seen passed out in his home, according to an autopsy report.
Coroner's investigators said the drugs likely did not contribute to the June crash, which they classified as an accident. But the use of the drugs by Hastings, 33, coupled with family accounts to investigators, shed new light on the death of the award-winning journalist whose reporting led to the resignation of a top American general.
The autopsy report released Tuesday came two months after Hastings' death on a deserted Los Angeles street fueled conspiracy theories and prompted the FBI to release an unusual statement that it had not been investigating him.
Investigators said the crash occurred a day after Hastings returned from New York, where his wife was living at the time, and hours before a brother was due to join another family member in urging Hastings to go to detox. Family members told investigators that Hastings had been using the hallucinogenic dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, though the drug was not detected in a blood test after the crash.
The names of family members who spoke to investigators were redacted in the report.
The report said a family member had last seen Hastings passed out at home about three hours before the crash. The person said Hastings had been smoking marijuana the night before the crash.
Investigators said Hastings was found after the crash with a medicinal marijuana identity card in his wallet, and that the drug apparently was used to ease post-traumatic stress disorder after his assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq.