sam kinison photo

Tranquilizers, Cocaine Found in Kinison’s System

By Associated Press
Originally printed in The Los Angeles Times
Friday, May 29, 1992

SAN BERNARDINO — Comedian Sam Kinison had traces of cocaine and tranquilizers in his system when he was killed in a head-on collision last month, an expert who reviewed autopsy findings said.

Kinison, who told in 1990 of kicking his drug addiction, was traveling with his new wife on a desert highway April 10 when his car was hit by a truck that crossed the center line while attempting to pass traffic.

Besides cocaine, autopsy findings indicate Kinison had the prescription tranquilizers Valium and Xantac in his system as well as the prescription painkiller codeine, said Dr. Irving Root, who retired as the San Bernardino County coroner’s chief pathologist in 1991.

Deputy Coroner Gabriel Morales said that Kinison, 38, suffered multiple traumatic injuries to the chest cavity and died within minutes of the crash near Needles. “Drugs did not contribute to the cause of death,” Morales said. “(But) we are not saying that he wasn’t under the influence.”