Killed in a single-car crash on June 18, Los Angeles coroner’s officials declared today that award-winning journalist Michael Hastings had trace amounts of amphetamine and THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, in his system when he died. The toxicology report suggests that the amount of either drug in his system were a factor in the cause of the crash.
Hastings died from massive blunt force trauma when his Mercedes coupe slammed into a tree at high speed on Highland Avenue. Hastings had been seen sometime between 12:30 and 1 a.m. by a witness who said Hastings was “passed out.” The crash occurred hours later just before 5 a.m.; Los Angeles police said there were no signs of foul play.
Hastings’ family said that Michael had been sober for 14 years, but had begun using drugs in the months before his death. A medical marijuana card was found in his wallet; Hastings had been prescribed marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress developing from his time as a war journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hastings was one of the hardest hitting investigatory journalists to ever live. While reporting for Rolling Stone, Hastings uncovered General Stanley McChrystal and his staff’s distaste, disobedience and contemptuousness of their superiors, which included National Security Advisor James L. Jones, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry and President Barack Obama. Hastings’ exposé entitled "The Runaway General" caused Gen. McChrystal to resign as Commander of U.S. and NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.
The death of Michael Hastings is surrounded by controversy and conspiracy theories. Many are speculating that the famed journalist was killed chasing his next big story regarding the CIA , NSA or FBI. Hastings sent panicked emails to his colleagues hours before his fatal crash, telling them that the feds were investigating his close friends and associates and saying he was “going off the radar for a bit.” The FBI issued a statement saying “at no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI.”
Other conspiracy theorists have hypothesized that the computer in Hastings’ Mercedes was hacked and manipulated as a drone and intentionally crashed into a tree, causing a fiery explosion; a conclusion that has been declared as highly unlikely but technically possible.
A closed-circuit security camera captured Hastings’ final moments on video. Officials have not yet determined if Hastings was impaired while driving or if his car had mechanical errors