A month after Miami was shocked by the sudden death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident, fans of the Cuban star were hit with another blow.
The 24-year-old right-hander was intoxicated at the time of the accident off the coast of South Beach, toxicology reports released by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office Saturday afternoon showed. Fernandez had nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system and the autopsy also revealed traces of cocaine and substances used to cut the drug, according to the report.
Fernandez and two other men were killed in the early morning hours of Sept. 25 when the boat they were riding in slammed into a jetty near the popular South Beach district. Also killed in the accident were Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25. While officials have not said who was piloting the boat at the time of the crash, Fernandez owned the boat, which was named “Kaught Looking.”
The autopsy report, released after a lawsuit by the Miami Herald, showed that Fernandez had .147 percent alcohol in his blood, which is well above Florida’s .08 percent limit for drunk driving. The autopsy also found .126 mg/L of cocaine in Fernandez’s blood stream and substances commonly used to cut the drug. All three men had alcohol in their systems. Rivero also tested positive for cocaine, according to the report.
Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez had a blood-alcohol level of .147 at the time of his death.
Despite initial reports in the immediate hours after the crash that said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol at the scene of the crash, an affidavit by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office obtained by reporters earlier this week found that a “strong odor of alcohol” could be smelled around the bodies at the scene by investigators, and that the boat’s pilot had been speeding with a “recklessness” that was “exacerbated by the consumption of alcohol.”
Employees at the American Social Bar and Kitchen confirmed that Fernandez, who had his expected Sept. 26 start pushed back a day, was at the river-side bar hours before the accident. Witnesses at the Miami hotspot told Univision there was a bottle of Tequila on the table where Fernandez sat with Rivero and Macias. Photos of Fernandez with two female fans taken at the bar were time stamped at 2:36 a.m.
Though there were no witness to the crash and no exact time, the Coast Guard received a call about a boat on the jetty at 3:15 a.m.
The Marlins and Miami’s Cuban community were devastated by the loss of one of their brightest stars. Fernandez, who had been jailed after three failed attempts to defect from Cuba, finally succeeded in 2007. With his mother, Fernandez settled in Tampa in 2008 and was the Marlins first-round pick in the 2011 draft. He was a two-time All-Star and the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year.
After 2014 Tommy John surgery, Fernandez was back to himself in 2016. He was 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA and expected to make his final start of the season Monday Sept. 26 against the Mets at Marlins Park. He was named the Sporting News’ Comeback Player of the Year earlier this week and would have certainly garnered votes in this year’s National League Cy Young voting.
More than just a righty with an electric fastball and slurve, Fernandez was also the face of the franchise who could reach both the larger Miami Cuban community and baseball fans. He was adopted by many in the Cuban community as a role model for many younger Cuban-Americans and, as was expressed many times at the spontaneous memorial for him outside Marlins Park, a son or grandson to the older members of the community.
Investigators look at a boat, which was carrying Jose Fernandez and two men, overturned on a jetty on Sept. 25.
His death was followed by an emotional end of the season for the devastated community and Marlins franchise. The Marlins final game of a three-game series with the Braves was canceled on the day of Fernandez’s death and their series opener with the Mets began with a very raw and emotional ceremony remembering Fernandez. His casket was driven to Marlins Park one last time on Wednesday, Sept. 29 with his teammates and several members of the Mets outside to show their respect, followed by hours of a public viewing at a local Catholic church. His funeral was broadcast live on local Miami television and nationally on ESPN.
Survived by his mother Maritza and grandmother Olga, Fernandez was expecting his first child with girlfriend Maria Arias at the time of his death. A week later, Fernandez’s ashes were scattered in the water near where the accident took his life, according to a report by Radio Marti.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News