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More details emerge in St. Louis pitcher’s death

Sunday, May 6, 2007 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:01 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping other players will learn from Josh Hancock’s fatal mistakes.

The pitcher was drunk and talking on his cell phone at the time of his accident Sunday, and marijuana was found in the sport utility vehicle he was driving.

“I think it’s probably a wake-up call to everybody,” general manager Walt Jocketty said at a news conference at Busch Stadium on Friday. “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.”

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.

“There is nothing at all that could have been done for him,” Graham said.

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. Police Chief Joe Mokwa said there was no evidence Hancock tried to stop.

Hancock wasn’t wearing a seat belt, but Graham said the belt wouldn’t 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.


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