Police: Cardinal pitcher was drunk at time of deadly crash

Police: Cardinal pitcher was drunk at time of deadly crash
By: Associated Press
ST. LOUIS, Mo -- Police says it appears St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was drunk and distracted when he crashed his SUV in St. Louis over the weekend.

The medical examiner says the 29-year-old died instantly of head injuries.

The police chief says Hancock's blood-alcohol level was nearly twice Missouri's legal limit. Marijuana was also found in the rented Ford Explorer. Hancock was also talking on his cell phone at around the time of the crash. The conversation with a female acquaintance ended abruptly -- apparently when the crash occurred.

Toxicology tests are being done to determine if drugs were in his system.

Investigators say Hancock was going nearly 70 in a 55 mile-per-hour zone when his SUV struck the back of a flatbed tow truck. Police say there is no evidence Hancock tried to stop. He did swerve, but too late to avoid the collision.

Below is a copy of the official news release from the St. Louis Police Department.


May 4, 2007

Department Completes Investigation into Fatal Accident

St. Louis Cardinals' Pitcher's Blood Alcohol Level Almost Twice Legal Limit  

The Metropolitan Police Department's Accident Reconstruction Unit has completed its investigation into the fatal accident that claimed the life of St. Louis Cardinals' Pitcher Joshua Hancock early Sunday morning, April 29, 2007.  According to the St. Louis City medical examiner, Hancock's blood alcohol level was .157, nearly twice Missouri's legal limit of .08.

There was also 8.55 grams of marijuana found in the rented vehicle.  The marijuana was located at the time of the accident and sent to the Department's forensic laboratory for official drug analysis.  The official toxicology report is expected to be completed within the next week.

The accident reconstruction report indicates Hancock was traveling at a speed of 68 miles per hour at the time of impact and was on his cell phone just prior to the accident.  Phone records obtained by police indicate Hancock received an incoming call at 12:39 a.m.  According to that caller, three minutes into their conversation the call ended abruptly.  At approximately 12:41 a.m., Hancock crashes his SUV into the rear of a stopped flatbed tow truck in the far left lane of westbound Interstate 64 at the Forest Park Blvd. exit.  Hancock was not wearing his seatbelt and the driver's side front and side airbags did deploy.

The Department's investigation into the hours leading up to the accident revealed that at 6:35 p.m. Hancock was observed by surveillance cameras leaving Busch Stadium.  At around 8:30 p.m. Hancock arrives at Mike Shannon's Steak and Seafood Restaurant, 620 Market Street where he remains until at least 12:02 a.m. when he pays his bill.  The restaurant has confirmed Hancock did purchase alcoholic beverages.