The coroner's final report on journalist Michael Hastings, who died in a fiery one-car accident in June, revealed that he had marijuana and a trace of amphetamine, “consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine,”* in his blood.
Family members were sufficiently concerned with his drug use, the report says, that they came to L.A. to get him to “go to detox.” Family members told investigators they believed he was taking cocaine and the psychedelic drug DMT:
Those last two substances, however, didn't turn up in the coroner's toxicology report. And investigators downplayed the role of drugs, concluding that the marijuana was probably taken “hours earlier” and that the amphetamine was “unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident”
Family members told investigators that Hastings expressed that he believed he was invincible, “believing he could jump from a balcony and he would be okay.”
One brother was at Hastings' home when investigators arrived, and another was en route, according to the coroner's report.
The official cause of death was “massive blunt force trauma consistent with a high speed front-end impact,” the report says. His demise was “consistent with an instantaneous death,” the report stated.
Hastings' car crashed on Highland Avenue south of Melrose Avenue about 4:15 a.m. on June 18. The new Mercedes C250 coupe he was driving was going at a high rate of speed, 60 mph or higher, when it apparently went out of control, hit a tree, and burst into flames, sending its engine flying yards away.
The explosive crash paired with Hastings' past coverage of U.S. intelligence operations and hints of a big CIA scoop in the making inspired many conspiracy theories about his death.
However, he had a history of drug abuse and his family told investigators that he recently started to use drugs, in “the past month or so,” after trying to quit.
Cracked.com calls DMT “the most hardcore psychedelic drug known to man,” though it wasn't found in Hastings' blood.
LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus has an in-depth look at what led up to the talented writer's death in Thursday's edition: The piece will be online tomorrow morning.
*[Added at 1:53 p.m.]: A coroner's spokesman told the Weekly that the amphetamine in his system could have been a result of taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall, which contains amphetamine. Hastings wrote that he had taken Adderall in the past.
-With reporting from LA Weekly staff writer Gene Maddaus.