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Coroner says Anne Heche wasn’t under influence of drugs or alcohol when she crashed

A woman with short blond hair and scrunched-up eyes flashes a big smile at an event
Toxicology results are back on actor Anne Heche, who died after a car crash in August.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)
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Anne Heche was not impaired by alcohol or any substance at the time of her death, according to a new report from the L.A. County medical examiner-coroner‘s office that was reviewed Tuesday by The Times.

However, a blood sample drawn in the emergency room did show the presence of an inactive cocaine metabolite, the report said, indicating that the actor had used the drug in the days before her death.

Evidence of cannabinoids and benzodiazepine was found in a urine sample taken after she was admitted to the hospital, indicating that she had also used those drugs in recent days. No such evidence appeared in the blood sample. Fentanyl was also present in the urine sample, but that was consistent with the drug being administered in the hospital for pain.

Lynne Mishele, who lived in the Mar Vista home damaged by fire after Anne Heche drove her car into it, is suing Heche’s estate for at least $2 million.

On Aug. 5, Heche drove erratically around Venice and Mar Vista before clipping a garage and then crashing her Mini Cooper into a home, which was destroyed in the fire that ensued. It took firefighters almost an hour to extract Heche from her car.

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She was taken to the emergency room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and later transferred to the burn unit at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center. She was declared brain dead the evening of Aug. 11 — the date given on the hospital paperwork — and her family confirmed her death to The Times on Aug. 12.

However, Heche’s body was kept on life support until Aug. 14, when her organs were harvested for donation after recipients had been found. Her cremated remains were interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Actor Thomas Jane, who was romantically linked to Anne Heche in the years before her death, says her estate owes him nearly $150,000 for an unpaid loan.

Heche’s death was ruled accidental by the L.A. County coroner, who determined the actor died of inhalation and thermal injuries, with a sternum fractured by blunt force contributing “significantly.” Her right kidney was lacerated and 12% of the surface of her skin was burned.

Heche’s oldest son, Homer Laffoon, is serving as executor of her estate. The woman who was in the house with her pets recently sued Heche’s estate, seeking a minimum of $2 million, while ex-boyfriend Thomas Jane put in a claim for a personal loan Heche didn’t repay before she died.


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