(Adds the word "which" in paragraph 7)
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES Aug 20 A prominent U.S. journalist
whose reporting led to the ouster of the senior U.S. military
commander in Afghanistan had traces of methamphetamine in his
blood when he was killed in June in a fiery Los Angeles car
crash, autopsy findings showed on Tuesday.
The drugs in Michael Hastings' system were of an amount
unlikely to have contributed to the crash in which the
Mercedes-Benz he was driving struck a tree and burst into
flames, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office
A Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman said at the time
that "there was no evidence of foul play in the accident," but
the news stirred Internet conspiracy theories suggesting the
journalist had been the victim of government efforts to silence
Hastings, 33, was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone
profile of Army General Stanley McChrystal that quoted the
military leader making disparaging remarks about President
Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Obama soon relieved McChrystal of his post and replaced him
with then-General David Petraeus.
The autopsy found Hastings died of traumatic injuries from a
car collision with a fixed object and that he succumbed to his
injuries within seconds of impact.
Toxicology results showed a small amount of amphetamine in
Hastings' blood consistent with "possible intake of
methamphetamine many hours before death" but which would
probably not have been "intoxicative" at the time of the crash.
Hastings also had marijuana in his system in the form of its
metabolite, indicating possible pot use hours before his death.
"Family had just arrived from New York the day prior, attempting
to get decedent to go to rehab," the report said.
It also cited the initial Los Angeles police investigation
as having found that Hastings had been traveling at a "high rate
of speed" when he "apparently lost control of his vehicle."
Hastings' widow, Elise Jordan, in an interview with CNN host
Piers Morgan earlier this month, downplayed the conspiracy
"The LAPD still has an active investigation," Jordan told
CNN. "I don't really have anything to add. My gut here is that
it was just a really tragic accident, and I'm very unlucky and
the world was very unlucky."
A June Twitter posting from anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks
said the journalist contacted a WikiLeaks attorney hours before
his death to tell them the FBI was investigating him. The post
fueled online speculation about the nature of his death.
The FBI in a statement in June said "at no time" was
Hastings under investigation by the agency.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and