Anne Heche wasn’t impaired by drugs when she died in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles, a final autopsy determined, though blood tests showed earlier use of multiple substances, including cocaine.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s autopsy, obtained Tuesday by outlets including Page Six and People, revealed “no evidence of impairment” by illicit drugs when her car crashed into a house in August and caught fire.
Heche’s blood tested positive for benzoylecgonine, cocaine, fentanyl and cannabinoids, according to the reports. Benzoylecgonine, an inactive metabolite of cocaine, merely confirmed she used the drug in the past. Cannobinoids, inactive marijuana metabolites, indicated prior marijuana use, but not on the day of the collision. The fentanyl found in her system was administered after the crash for pain at the hospital, according to the autopsy.
Heche crashed her Mini Cooper into a Mar Vista residence on 5 August. The autopsy showed her sternum was fractured, presumably by her chest hitting the steering wheel, and said the injury likely made it “painful while breathing when she was in her vehicle.”
Her death, ruled accidental, was caused by thermal injuries and inhalation. Her burns were so severe that her body had trouble absorbing oxygen, which led to fatal “anoxic brain injury,” the autopsy report said.
The blaze engulfed Heche’s car and the house she hit, and took firefighters more than one hour to extinguish, per The Los Angeles Times. By then, most of Heche’s clothes were burned off and she had second-degree burns to 12% of her body.
Los Angeles police said after the crash that Heche’s blood “revealed the presence of drugs,” which sources identified as cocaine. Police said at the time that the case was “being investigated as felony DUI traffic collision.”