Cardinals to review alcohol policy
May 4: St. Louis Cardinal General Manager Walt Jocketty says that the baseball team will re-examine its alcohol policy, at a news conference to discuss a police report that said Josh Hancock was drunk at the time of his fatal accident.
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was drunk and talking on his cell phone at the time of his fatal accident, and marijuana was found in the sport utility vehicle he was driving.
Medical examiner Michael Graham said at a news conference Friday that the 29-year-old reliever was dead “within seconds” from head injuries in the crash early Sunday on Interstate 64 in St. Louis. His vehicle hit the back of a tow truck parked on the highway to assist a driver from a previous accident.
“There is nothing at all that could have been done for him,” Graham said.
Hancock’s blood-alcohol level was 0.157, nearly twice Missouri’s legal limit of 0.08, Graham said.
Police Chief Joe Mokwa said 8.55 grams of marijuana and a glass pipe used to smoke marijuana were found in the rented Ford Explorer. Toxicology tests to determine if drugs were in his system had not been completed.
An accident reconstruction team determined Hancock was traveling 68 mph in a 55 mph zone when his SUV struck the back of a flatbed tow truck stopped in a driving lane. Mokwa said there was no evidence Hancock tried to stop. He did swerve, but too late to avoid the collision.
Hancock was not wearing a seat belt, but Graham said the belt would not have prevented his death.
Mokwa said Hancock was speaking with a female acquaintance about baseball and baseball tickets and that the conversation ended abruptly, apparently when the accident occurred. A police report said Hancock told the female acquaintance he was on his way to another bar, and that he planned to meet her there.
Hancock, a key bullpen member on the World Series championship team last season, was driving alone.
Cardinals officials expressed sadness at the news and said the team will re-examine what it can do to warn players of the dangers of drinking and driving.
“I think it’s probably a wakeup call to everybody,” general manager Walt Jocketty said at a news conference at Busch Stadium. “The one thing they have to understand is they’re not invincible. They have to conduct themselves and make better decisions. Unfortunately, Josh didn’t make very good decisions that night.”
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said before Friday night’s game that the organization has banned alcohol in the clubhouse. He said he didn’t think alcohol in the clubhouse had been a problem and has diminished over the years, but team officials want to promote responsible drinking.
The organization was debating whether to ban alcohol on certain charter flights, but no decisions had been made.
La Russa was arrested on a drunken driving charge in Jupiter, Fla., in March, when police said they found him asleep at the wheel at a traffic light. His blood alcohol level was measured at 0.093 — Florida’s legal limit is 0.08. His lawyer waived La Russa’s arraignment last month and requested a trial. No trial date has been set.
La Russa warned pitcher about excessive drinking
May 4: St. Louis Cardinal manager Tony La Russa says that he had a "very serious heart-to-heart" talk with pitcher Josh Hancock about excessive drinking days before his fatal accident.
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