Baseball star had alcohol and cocaine before crash

A detailed view of a memorial wall in honor of Jose Fernandez on Sept 28, 2016, in Miami, Florida.
A detailed view of a memorial wall in honor of Jose Fernandez on Sept 28, 2016, in Miami, Florida. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI • Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez had cocaine and alcohol in his system when his boat crashed into a Miami Beach jetty, according to toxicology reports released on Saturday.

It is not clear whether Fernandez was at the helm when the boat crashed on Sept 25, killing the 24-year-old Major League Baseball star and two of his friends.

But he had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.147, well above Florida's legal limit of 0.08, according to autopsy reports released by the Miami-Dade County medical examiner's office.

Associate medical examiner Kenneth Hutchins listed the cause of death as "boat crash" for Fernandez, Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25.

Each man had suffered blunt force injuries to his head and body, Hutchins wrote. Toxicology reports showed Macias and Rivero had alcohol levels below the state's legal limit, while Rivero also had cocaine in his system.

The bodies had a strong odour of alcohol on them when they were recovered by divers, and investigators also found evidence the boat was speeding when it slammed into the jetty, according to a search warrant affidavit released this week by the Miami-Dade County state attorney's office. The affidavit said officials also recovered a receipt for alcohol from American Social Bar & Kitchen, where the trio had been before the crash.

Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez directed the medical examiner's office to release the autopsy reports on Saturday, a day after The Miami Herald sued the medical examiner's office seeking their release. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state agency investigating the crash, previously refused to release the reports.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2016, with the headline 'Baseball star had alcohol and cocaine before crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe