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Toran Didn’t Seem Drunk Before Fatal Drive Home, Friends Say

Times Staff Writer

The two friends who were with Stacey Toran the night he died have told police that they spent almost five hours eating and drinking at a Marina del Rey restaurant. The two, who police declined to identify, said the Raider safety did not appear to be intoxicated when he left them to drive the few blocks to his apartment.

Toran, 27, died Aug. 5 when he apparently lost control of his car and it cartwheeled more than 400 feet through a park. A final coroner’s report, which was released Thursday, confirmed that Toran’s blood-alcohol level was .32%, more than three times the legal limit for intoxication. The toxicology report showed no traces of drugs.

The official cause of death is noted as “multiple traumatic injuries.”

Detective Robert Smith of West Traffic Division said Toran’s friends, a man and a woman, told him they and Toran arrived at T.G.I. Friday’s about 6:30 p.m. They said that they drank and ate appetizers until they left the restaurant at about 11:20.

“They said they parted company in the parking lot and that he did not appear to be drunk,” Smith said.

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Police put the time of Toran’s death at about 11:30. The report indicates paramedics arrived at 11:39, and Toran was pronounced dead at 11:45.

Smith disputed a portion of the coroner’s report, which quoted from the report of the officer on the accident scene. The coroner’s report said that Toran, “failed to negotiate the curve, struck the curb at which time the vehicle went onto the sidewalk and appeared to have a tire blow out.”

The report said that Toran’s car rolled as he attempted to steer it back onto the road.

Smith said the right rear tire on Toran’s 1984 BMW was flat, but said that it might have been crushed as the car flipped through Glen-Alla park, less than a block from Toran’s apartment.

“I’m certain that (a blowout) was not the cause of the accident,” Smith said.

The coroner’s report also showed .22% alcohol in Toran’s urine, which refers to the excess alcohol not processed by the liver.

“It’s another indicator that this man drank a tremendous amount,” said Dr. Ernest Noble, UCLA Pike Professor of Alcohol Studies.

Noble said that an average man would have to consume five drinks to reach just a .10 level.

At .32, Noble said, “You’re almost at the unconscious level. Also, if you are not a drinker, and this man’s friends say he was not, that alcohol would hit you like a sledgehammer. You’ve got a guy who was almost knocked out.”

Noble said that .40% and above is the level of alcohol poisoning, which is fatal.

Toran attended the Raiders’ Family Day in Oxnard on the day of the accident and was believed to have left between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Smith said he has determined that Toran was not drinking during the public function. Smith also said he found no alcohol in Toran’s car.

An eyewitness estimated that Toran’s car was traveling at 60-80 m.p.h. when it failed to negotiate a slight curve on Glencoe Avenue. The speed limit for the curve is 35.

Toran was killed when he was thrown from the car.

Smith said his final report is completed but that he will interview the general manager of T.G.I. Friday’s next week.

If the police determine that the bar served drinks to Toran while he was obviously intoxicated, then a report would be turned over to the state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. If a patron enters a bar apparently sober and leaves “intoxicated,” action could be taken against the holder of the liquor license. That could range from a fine to a suspension or revocation of the license.


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