Story Summary

Journalist Michael Hastings Dies in Fiery Hollywood Crash

The Los Angeles County coroner on Thursday positively identified Hastings as the driver of a Mercedes that crashed on Highland Avenue near Melrose Avenue on Tuesday morning.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 3 updates

LOS ANGELES — Journalist Michael Hastings, who was killed in a fiery Los Angeles crash in June, died of “traumatic injuries” as a result of the accident and had traces of drugs in his system, Los Angeles coroner’s officials said Tuesday.

hastings-crashHastings, 33, died June 18 in a single-vehicle accident. His car burst into flames and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coroner’s officials said Hastings had traces of amphetamine in his system, consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine many hours before death, as well as marijuana. Neither were considered a factor in the crash, according to toxicology reports.

The cause of death was massive blunt force trauma consistent with a high-speed crash. He likely died within seconds, the report said.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department said there appears to be no foul play in the one-vehicle accident that killed journalist Michael Hastings.

hastings-crash

An LAPD officer investigates the scene of a single-vehicle accident in which journalist Michael Hastings was killed. (credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County coroner on Thursday positively identified Hastings as the driver of a Mercedes that crashed on Highland Avenue near Melrose Avenue on Tuesday morning.

Hastings’ involvement with hot-button stories has led to a variety of conspiracy theories arising on the Internet over his death. But LAPD officials said the incident appears to have been an accident and that no other vehicles were involved. Officials are trying to determine whether there was a mechanical problem with the car. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.

Video of the accident scene showed the car engulfed in flames. Law enforcement sources said the car appeared to be going at a high rate of speed but emphasized that the investigation was ongoing.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) — The investigation continued on Wednesday into a fiery car crash in Hollywood that killed award-winning journalist Michael Hastings.

Hastings, 33, was perhaps best known forĀ a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

michael-hastings

Michael Hastings

The coroner’s office had yet to identify the victim, but both Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed, where Hastings worked most recently, reported that it was him.

The solo-vehicle crash happened near the intersection of Highland and Melrose avenues around 4:15 a.m., according to the LAPD.

Hastings’ Mercedes-Benz slammed into a tree and caught fire.

“I was just coming northbound on Highland and I seen a car going really fast, and all of a sudden I seen it jackknife,” said Luis Cortez, who witnessed the wreck.

“I just seen parts fly everywhere and I slammed on my brakes and stopped and tried to call 911,” Cortez added.

The engine of the vehicle was found in a yard about 100 feet away.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Coroner’s officials said the body was too badly burned to make an immediate identification.

Police were investigating the possibility that speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Meantime, friends, family and colleagues were trying to come to terms with the news, and to offer some insight into Hastings’ life.

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith issued a statement on Tuesday, saying his team was “shocked and devastated by the news.”

“Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered, from wars to politicians,” Smith said.

“He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold,” he said.

Friends said that, because of the nature of Hastings’ work, he often led a very paranoid lifestyle.

“A lot of his friends were worried that he was in a very agitated state, yes. No question, people were concerned,” said Cenk Uygur, host of “The Young Turks.”

“He was incredibly tense and very worried and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material,” he said.

“I don’t know what his state of mind was at 4:30 in the morning, but I do know what his state of mind was in general, and it was a nervous wreck.”

In addition to his work for Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed, Hastings was also a contributor for GQ and Newsweek. He leaves behind a wife.

Advertisement