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Thread: Sad, but not shocking...
05-04-07, 05:01 PM #1
Sad, but not shocking...
Police: Hancock Was Intoxicated, Marijuana Found In Car
KSDK - St. Louis Police held a news conference Friday to discuss the investigation into the death of Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock. A few hours later, the St. Louis Cardinals held a news conference.
Hancock was killed in a crash early Sunday morning. The rented Ford Explorer he was driving slammed into a tow truck parked behind a previous accident in the left lane of westbound Highway 40 near the Grand/Forest Park Avenue exit.
"Mr. Hancock was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident," said Police Chief Joe Mokwa.
Dr. Michael Graham, Medical Examiner for the City of St. Louis, said Hancock's blood alcohol level was about twice the legal limit in Missouri. His blood alcohol content was .157. The legal limit to drive is .08.
Dr. Graham says Hancock died of a head injury, and died almost instantly.
His vehicle was traveling at 68 miles per hour, police say, and he was not wearing a seat belt. The speed limit is 55 m.p.h. on that part of the highway. There was no indication he applied his brakes prior to the crash, though he did appear to swerve. Police say Hancock was talking on a cell phone with a friend when the crash happened. The lights on the tow truck were flashing at the time of the crash.
"Our investigation found 8.55 grams of marijuana in the vehicle, along with a glass pipe used to smoke the marijuana," said the chief. He said the toxicology tests are not yet complete.
Saturday's game ended a little after 5 p.m. Busch Stadium security video shows Hancock left the stadium at about 6:30 p.m. "His whereabouts between 6:35 and 8:30 are unknown. At about 8:30 p.m., Mr. Hancock arrived at Mike Shannon's restaurant on Market Street, where he remained until shortly after midnight," said Chief Mokwa.
Mr. Hancock was socializing in a restaurant that had many patrons," said the chief. "He was independent, he arrived by himself, he knew many of the customers, and he was interacting with many people. He did consume alcohol, and he purchased alcohol for other people, so it's very difficult to establish how much he drank of the alcohol he bought."
Pat Shannon, a manager at the restaurant, has previously said that she offered to call Hancock a cab, but that he refused and told her he was going to walk to the Westin. It was a short time after he left Shannon's that he was in the accident.
According to the police report, officers interviewed Pat Shannon. The report says she had a conversation with Hancock before he left and that, "She stated that this conversation lasted about 15-20 minutes and during this time she stated that his eyes were clear and he did not slur his words and he did not appear to be intoxicated."
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Josh Hancock. As I take time to reflect on this tragic accident, there is an opportunity for all of us to have a real conversation and frank dialogue about the seriousness of drinking and driving. This issue is all too often glossed over, and somewhat widely accepted. If you drink don't drive, call a taxi, use a designated driver, call a friend," said Chief Mokwa.
Chief Mokwa said at the news conference that he had not talked to the Cardinals since the day of the accident.
The Cardinals held a news conference Friday. They said they were not surprised to learn alcohol was involved, based on their investigations after the crash.
Manager Tony La Russa said he talked to Hancock a couple of times in the days leading up to the fatal crash.
On Thursday, Hancock arrived late for a game. La Russa says he didn't know about the accident Sauget Police later confirmed that Hancock was in that morning. La Russa says he did have a conversation with Hancock about being late, and he tested Hancock for any signs that he might have been affected by drinking. La Russa said it was clear that Hancock did not appear to be hung over.
La Russa said he talked with Hancock again on Friday. "I think about Thursday, Friday, and then Saturday he makes those mistakes. There are only two conclusions I can come to. Either I'm ineffective, which is possible, or I couldn't get through to him."
La Russa did say, "There wasn't anything that we knew, guys on the coaching staff, equipment staff, myself, that would make us think there was a problem." He says he did not suspect that there may have been a recurring problem in Hancock's life.
General Manager Walt Jockety was asked about alcohol in the players clubhouse, and said that there is beer in the clubhouse, but a limited amount. "It's not like the old days. Guys aren't here that long after the game," said Jocketty. He pointed out that Hancock was in the clubhouse less than an hour after the game, and left the clubhouse 6 hours before the accident.
La Russa seconded those comments, saying he thinks players, as a rule, drink much less than they used to. "It's really kind of a curious thing. The use of alcohol has significantly been diminished, by the great majority of players on the roster. I think a lot of it came into when they had a chance to make a lot of money and secure their future," he said.
The team will consider that policy. Jockety said. "It's something we'll examine, discuss. We'll examine everything with our procedures."
The Cardinals say players receive education from the time they start in the minors about proper behavior, and about the dangers of drinking and driving. "The thing that we do and we continue to do is to educate the players. We give them an education on how to conduct themselves with the EAP program that's available to them," said Jocketty.
La Russa says it goes farther than that for the Cardinals. "When you sign a contract with the Cardinals, you're talked to about these issues," he said.
"Players talk about it, the leaders talk about it, the coaches talk about it. I think we have a responsibility, and as Walt said, we'll examine this, and if there is something we can do better, fine," said La Russa.
Hancock was remembered in a public memorial Thursday. Click here to read about the memorial and to see video from the memorial.
Bill DeWitt Jr., a Cardinals owner, said, "Yesterday in Tupelo, we experienced first hand the effect Josh had on his family, friends, fans and loved ones."
He said the team will not challenge any of the investigation.
"We completely respect the work by the St. Louis police department, and accept the findings of the investigation as fact."
And he said that he hopes memories of Hancock's life won't be lost in the decisions he made that led to his death.
"I hope that when we remember Josh Hancock, that we remember him for reasons beyond this week," said DeWitt.The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Beans" on LEF.
05-04-07, 06:31 PM #2
That's too bad.
At least he didn't kill anyone else.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
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