Actress Anne Heche had cocaine in her system during her fatal car crash into a Los Angeles home, according to the final autopsy and toxicology report. According to the Los Angeles County medical examiner's report, the Emmy-winning actress tested positive for benzoylecgonine, cocaine, fentanyl, and cannabis.
However, the report stated that Heche wasn't under the influence when the accident happened. After extensive testing, the final autopsy found "no evidence of impairment" by illicit drugs at the time of her deadly vehicle accident in August. Heche hit a LA home at 90 mph, igniting a fire that locked her inside for 45 minutes while dozens of firefighters struggled to free her.
Clean in Death
The final autopsy and toxicology report also states that there was no alcohol in Heche's system despite a photo of Heche taken only moments prior to the crash showing a bottle of what appeared to be vodka inside her blue Mini Cooper she was driving.
She may have used cocaine in the past, but not the day of her accident, according to the medical examiner, who explained to Page Six that benzoylecgonine is an inactive metabolite of the drug. The same was said about the cannabinoids (marijuana) that were found in her system.
Regarding the fentanyl that was found, the report notes that it was given to Heche after she had already been taken to the hospital to help with her discomfort. The medical examiner determined that Heche's death was unintentional, brought on by heat and inhalation injuries, along with a fractured sternum brought on by physical force trauma.
The impact of a driver's chest on the steering wheel frequently results in sternal fractures. According to the report, this kind of injury made breathing difficult for her while she was in her car.
The medical examiner also calculated that it took first responders around 30 minutes to free Heche from her car after she got stuck inside following the horrific crash.
The actress suffered second-degree burns to 12 percent of her body during that time, including the right side of her face/neck, right shoulder, left upper chest, and her upper extremities. Her clothes were nearly completely burned off, and her car was completely charred.
End of Speculation
There have been a lot of speculation surrounding Heche's death and whether she was under the influence when she crashed her car but the final autopsy report has now put an end to it. Heche battled addiction for many years, and she frequently discussed it in interviews because she was aware that her situation would serve as an example for others.
However, her autopsy report revealed that there was "no indication of impairment" from illicit drugs in the collision. The coroner's final ruling was that Heche's death was accidental and caused by inhalation and thermal injuries, as well as a severe sternal fracture that made it "painful for her to breathe when she was in her vehicle."
Heche hit a Mar Vista home in the late afternoon of August 5 with her blue Mini Cooper, igniting a fire. Witnesses on the scene claim that Heche slammed into an apartment complex's garage first before driving off after backing up.
Before ramming into the burning house, she struck another vehicle. The first of 59 firefighters arrived at the blazing residence at 11:01 am, according to the timestamp on the LA Fire Department's recordings, with reports that Heche was stuck inside the car.
Resident Lynne Mishele was evacuated from the blaze after authorities initially wrongly assumed there was nobody else inside the house since the car could not be seen.
Heche was saved at approximately 11:49 a.m. after emergency personnel located the vehicle but had to wait for a heavy-duty tow truck to brave the blaze and extract the vehicle.
She suffered severe burns and went into a coma and was transported to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Heche's representative at that time told that she had sustained severe burns, an anoxic brain injury, a significant pulmonary injury requiring artificial ventilation, and other injuries. The actress fell into a coma and never came out of it.
Reports that Heche was under the influence of cocaine at the time of the crash surfaced as police investigated the accident as a possible felony DUI. Now that has been proven false.
The mother of two was declared brain dead on August 12 after matching with an organ donor recipient, and removed from life support on August 15. She was 53 years old.