Michael Hastings Death: An Email About an Upcoming Big Story, and Then a Death by Car Crash

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Dashcam video of Hastings vehicle running a red light at high speed, followed by a video stringer responding to a scanner call of a crash nearby.

A video stringer for City News Service was about to call it a night. His vehicle had a dash cam and caught the red light violation of a Mercedes C250 Coupe, while he was inside a convenience store gas station. When the stringer came outside to his vehicle, he heard a call for a crash nearby. Within about four minutes the video stringer arrived to find a one-vehicle crash into a tree in the median.

A witness said the vehicle burst into flames immediately with the driver apparently still inside. The body inside the vehicle — the Mercedes C250 coupe — was burned beyond recognition.

Inside the vehicle was journalist Michael Hastings, whose Rolling
Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal led to the resignation of the
commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The car crash occurred about 4:25 a.m. Tuesday June 18, 2013 on Highland Avenue near Melrose Avenue in the Hancock Park area. Hastings’ death was initially confirmed Tuesday June 19, 2013 by his employer, the online news outlet BuzzFeed.

The vehicle’s engine ended up about 200 feet away from where the vehicle came to a rest. The crash scene was located just northwest of the Wilshire Country Club and the Greater Wilshire Hancock Park and Central LA.

Video showing dash cam of the red light violation and the firefighting efforts of citizens and firefighters.

Hastings was perhaps most famous for his candid 2010 Rolling Stone
interview with McChrystal, who was then commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan
and was critical of the White House’s oversight of the military. McChrystal turned in his resignation to President Barack Obama after the article was published. He was replaced by General David Petraeus.

Conspiracy theories are abundant, especially after friends of the dead reporter have claimed that an e-mail was sent to them on Monday June 17, 2013 at 12:56 p.m. — shortly before the reporter’s death .

Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA
Hey (redacted names) — the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the rada[r] for a bit.

All the best, and hope to see you all soon.


The FBI released a statement denying that Hastings was being investigated. Los Angeles police have reported there was no evidence of foul play at the crash scene.

View Larger Map
Highland and Melrose near the crash.

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