Coroner: Detective killed in crash had been drinking

Toxicology report finds his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and traces of drugs were also found.

April 10, 2013

A Costa Mesa police detective who died last month following a single-vehicle car crash was driving with a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit, according to an official report.

Det. Michael Delgadillo's blood-alcohol level was recorded at .14% shortly after his car crashed into a concrete pillar near Newport Boulevard and Bristol Street on March 5, according to results from a toxicology exam completed last week by the Orange County coroner.

The blood sample was taken before he died. The legal limit for driving is .08%.

Delgadillo, who was 57, died early March 6 from injuries sustained from blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen, the coroner's report found.


The death was ruled accidental by the coroner's office.

In addition to the alcohol, small amounts of painkillers commonly used to treat injuries were detected, but they did not appear to be in amounts great enough to impair driving.

The amount of painkillers appeared to be "inconsequential," according to Dr. Terence McGee, who serves on the Los Angeles County Superior Court panel of expert witnesses.

During his 32-year tenure with the department, Delgadillo worked as a detective and as a gang and narcotics investigator.

"The loss of veteran Det. Michael Delgadillo remains a tragedy for the Delgadillo family, the department and community," Police Chief Tom Gazsi said Tuesday. "We are saddened by the circumstances of his loss. Det. Delgadillo's commitment and successes as a valued member of the department will be fondly remembered."

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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