A dramatic video showing the fiery single-car crash that killed Michael Hastings has emerged.
The grainy video comes from a surveillance camera outside Pizzeria Mozza on Highland Avenue and Melrose not far from the crash site. Michael Krikorian, a writer and the boyfriend of Mozza’s owner Nancy Silverton, turned the video over to LAPD not long after the crash but he only released the video publicly on his own website yesterday.
Hastings, 33, was driving south on Highland Avenue when he crashed into palm trees in a median on June 18. It’s clear from the video that Hastings’ Mercedes-Benz coupe was going incredibly fast. It’s hard to tell, but it look like his brake lights flicker shortly before the crash. The car bursts into flames almost instantly. The engine was found 200 feet from the scene of the crash.
Before he released it, Krikorian wrote about the video and explores the possibilities of any conspiracy theories for the site whowhatwhy.com. (The LAPD ruled that there was no foul play.) He estimates that Hastings was going twice as fast as anyone else in surveillance footage says the brilliant flash is “reminiscent of fireballs from ‘Shock and Awe’ images from Baghdad in 2003.”
Here were some of his frame-by-frame observations about the video:
Highland has a very slight rise and fall at its intersection with Melrose. It’s difficult to tell by the film, but based on tire marks—which were not brake skid marks, by the way—chalked by the traffic investigators, it seems that the Mercedes may have been airborne briefly as it crossed the intersection, then landed hard. Tire marks were left about 10 feet east of the restaurant’s valet stand.
(Later, I drove the intersection at just 45 mph, and my car rose up significantly.)
About 100 feet after the car zooms by on the tape, it starts to swerve. At about 195 feet from the camera, the car jumps the curb of the center median, heading toward a palm tree 56 feet away.
About halfway between the curb and the tree, the car hits a metal protrusion—perhaps 30 inches tall and 2 feet wide—that gives access to city water mains below. This is where the first small flash occurs. This pipe may have damaged the undercarriage of the car, perhaps rupturing a fuel line.
I looked at the tape frame by frame. A second flash immediately follows the first. It might be the brake lights, but it’s hard to tell. The next frame is dark. Then comes the first explosion, followed immediately by a large fireball.
Krikorian said he briefly considered selling the video to TMZ for a cash payout but decided that he would feel sleazy making money off of Hastings’ death.
I’m still upset over this, as well as Andrew Breitbart’s “sudden” death. Both happened in the middle of the night in L.A. Coincidence?