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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Autopsy: Howe had meth in system at time of crash

Associated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Former major league pitcher Steve Howe had methamphetamine in his system when he was killed after his pickup truck drifted off a desert highway, a coroner's autopsy showed.

The coroner's office said Tuesday that Howe, 48, of Valencia died of injuries sustained in the April 28 single-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 in Coachella, about 150 miles east of Los Angeles.

Toxicological results determined there was methamphetamine in his bloodstream, the coroner's office said. The amount of the illegal drug wasn't disclosed.

Howe's pickup veered into the median and began to roll, witnesses told investigators. Howe, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the truck and the pickup landed on top of him.

Howe was the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year with Los Angeles, closed out the Dodgers' 1981 World Series championship and was an All-Star the next year.

But for all of his success on the field, the hard-throwing lefty was plagued by his addictions. He was suspended seven times and became a symbol of the rampant cocaine problem that tormented baseball in the 1980s.

During the 1992 season, he became the first baseball player to be banned for life because of drugs; an arbitrator reinstated him after the season.

Howe was 47-41 with 91 saves and a 3.03 ERA with the Dodgers, Twins, Rangers and Yankees. His final season in the majors was 1996.