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Drugs May Have Played Role in Death of Famed Journalist

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for The Guardian(LOS ANGELES) -- Journalist Michael Hastings, who was killed in a single-car crash last June in Los Angeles, had traces of amphetamines and marijuana in his system at the time of the accident, according to a coroner's report released Tuesday.

However, investigators could not say for certain if his drug use was a factor in the fatal crash.  Family members had told the coroner's office that Hastings began using drugs shortly before he was killed after being sober for 14 years.

According to the accident report, Hastings' vehicle crossed a median and struck a tree, where it burst into flames.  One witness reported that Hastings' car was moving at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash.

The journalist gained fame for his explosive story on Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which effectively ended his command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

A contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine, Hastings' 2010 article, "The Runaway General," focused on McChrystal's apparent contempt for his civilian commanders.

Summoned back to Washington, President Obama demanded the general's resignation, remarking how the conduct described in Hastings' article "undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system."

McChrystal was replaced by then-Gen. David Petraeus, regarded as one of the architects for the turnaround of the Iraq war.

Hastings won the 2010 Polk award for magazine reporting for "The Runaway General."  He left behind a wife, Elise Jordan.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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