Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died tragically in a September boating accident, had cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time of his death, according to a toxicology report released by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department.
The toxicology report contradicts the Florida Wildlife Commission’s early assertion that no evidence of alcohol or drugs were present at the scene.
Fernandez, who was 24, had a blood alcohol level of .147, nearly twice the legal limit in Florida. He also had cocaine in his system. The two men who were in the boat with Fernandez, Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero, both had alcohol in their system but were not above the legal limit. Rivero also had traces of cocaine in his system.
According to Fernandez family attorney Ralph Fernandez (no relation to Jose Fernandez), cocaine use would be “out of character” for the young baseball player. The attorney also stated that although Jose Fernandez was intoxicated, there’s “strong evidence” that the pitcher was not driving his boat at the time of the crash. In an interview with ABC 10 News Miami, Ralph Fernandez criticized the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department for releasing the toxicology report, accusing them of breaking a law that prohibits the disclosure of autopsy report.
However, acquaintances of Fernandez paint a different picture. According to the Miami Herald, those who knew Fernandez believe he was driving the boat because he had just met Macias, and Rivero had very little experience with boats.
The issue of who was driving the boat is critical, as it can be used in a civil suit against Fernandez’s estate by the families of the two men who were killed.
According to ABC 10 News Miami, the Miami Marlins will not comment on situation until investigation is over. According to the Chicago Tribune, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the autopsy is not official and declined to comment on the situation.