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Attorney Says Fernandez Was Not Driving Boat At Time Of Crash

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Toxicology reports released Saturday in the death of Jose Fernandez have revealed the star pitcher used alcohol and cocaine just before crashing his boat off Miami Beach.

The violent crash killed Fernandez and two friends, Eduardo Rivero, 25, and Emilio Macias last month.

Reports show Fernandez's blood alcohol was at 0.147, nearly twice the legal limit, and he had cocaine in his system at the time of his death.

Both Macias and Rivero were found to be under the legal limit for alcohol.  Rivero's blood alcohol content was .06%, but he also had cocaine in his system.   Macias had an even lower blood alcohol content at .04% and tests found no cocaine in him.

While the boat belonged to Fernandez, it's unclear who was driving at the time of the crash.  But Fernandez family attorney, Ralph Fernandez --- no relation --- says there's proof his client was not behind the wheel.   He says a witness immediately came forward with proof Jose wasn't driving because he was on the phone with him just before impact and the call dropped.

"He said that during that brief conversation that Jose was obviously not driving the boat because he was giving suggestions and or directions to whoever was driving and to stay off shore a bit and also something about the red or green lights," Attorney Fernandez told CBS4's Donna Rapado.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission has indicated the crash is a criminal investigation it is still working on.   After the Miami Herald told the M.E.'s office it was suing for withholding the reports, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Saturday morning the M.E.'s office needed to release the reports.

"The FWC said there was a criminal investigation so we were holding them," Mayor Gimenez told Rapado.  "We got sued by the Miami Herald.  When the FWC decided not to be a co-defendant then we released the information.  And that's why we released the information.  It's a public record and unless it's under criminal investigation, or unless the ones conducting the criminal investigation are gonna defend the case then Miami-Dade County is going to abide by law and release the information."

Just last week the State Attorney's Office said the bodies of 24-year old Fernandez, 25-year old Rivero and 27-year old Macias had a strong odor of alcohol on them when divers recovered them.  Investigators also found evidence the boat was speeding when it slammed into and flipped over the jetty.

Still, given this most recent information, many boaters have said during high tide and at night it's often hard to see the jetty in Government Cut just off South Beach, despite the lighting.   The Coast Guard has said it will examine that lighting.


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