Miami baseball star Fernandez consumed alcohol, cocaine before fatal boat crash

Reuters News
|
Posted: Oct 29, 2016 4:55 PM

(Reuters) - Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez, a dominant pitcher and hero in Miami's Cuban community, was legally drunk and had cocaine in his system when he was killed in a boat crash in late September, autopsy and toxicology reports released on Saturday found.

The toxicology report showed Fernandez had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.147, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 for driving in Florida, and also had cocaine in his blood.

Fernandez, 24, and two other men were killed before dawn on Sept. 25 when their 32-foot boat struck a rock jetty off Miami Beach, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. It was unclear who was driving the boat.

Fernandez survived harrowing conditions at sea when he fled Cuba as a teenager to start a new life in the United States. Born and raised in Cuba, he tried three time to defect to the United States before arriving at age 15 with his mother.

He was drafted by the Marlins in the first round in 2011, made his Major League Baseball debut in April 2013 and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, becoming a two-time all-star.

Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, were also killed in the boat crash. Both had alcohol in their system below legal limits and Rivero tested positive for cocaine, according to the reports.

All three men sustained head trauma and other injuries, according to the reports. Their bodies were found underneath the boat.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he directed the autopsy and toxicology reports to be released on Saturday after the Miami Herald newspaper sued the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner seeking their release under open records laws.

Gimenez said the medical examiner had been prepared to release the information, but withheld it at the request of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, which sought to delay the release of autopsy and toxicology reports until it had concluded a criminal investigation.

Gimenez said he ordered the release of the records after the state agency refused to join the county as co-defendants in the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for Fish & Wildlife said the information contained in the report would provide invaluable information as investigators conduct a thorough and complete investigation.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis, editing by G Crosse)