An autopsy released Friday said that Roy Halladay had evidence of morphine, amphetamine, and zolpidem in his system in November when he fatally crashed his single-engine plane into the Gulf of Mexico.
The autopsy, conducted by the Pasco and Pinellas Counties (Fla.) medical examiner, listed the former Phillies pitcher’s cause of death as blunt force trauma with drowning as a contributing factor. Amphetamine is commonly used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Zolpidem, commonly known as Ambien, is used for insomnia, and morphine is an opiate-based pain killer.
Halladay’s blood content of morphine (160 ng/mL), amphetamine (1800 ng/mL), and zolpidem (72 ng/mL) can be considered trace amounts. Halladay’s blood alcohol content, according to the autopsy, was 0.01. Federal regulations state that a pilot cannot operate an aircraft within eight hours of consuming alcohol or with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or greater or while using any drug that adversely affects safety.
A preliminary report released two weeks after the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board said Halladay was flying his ICON A5 plane at 105 mph while skimming the Gulf of Mexico at just 11 feet before climbing 100 feet in the air. The plane, a witness told the NTSB, then climbed between 300 and 500 feet before turning into a 45-foot dive and slamming into the water.
Halladay spent the final four seasons of his eventual 16-year Hall-of-Fame career with the Phillies. His death was stunning and his public funeral, held at the Phillies’ spring-training home in Clearwater, Fla., was attended by a horde of former teammates. The Phillies have yet to announce plans to honor Halladay this season but it is possible that he will be added to their Wall of Fame in the summer. Andrew Knapp, who wore Halladay’s No. 34 last season, volunteered to give up the number after the pitcher’s death.