Steelers’ QB tragic death suddenly reminds us of the sad loss of another promising athlete in Miami | Editorial

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Patrick Farrell/pfarrell@miamiherald.com
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Sadly, a toxicology report on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins released this week shows that Haskins died like other promising young athletes, celebrities and everyday people: bad judgment in South Florida, party central.

The report essentially fills in the blanks about the April 9 accident on Interstate 595 in Broward County which took Haskins’ life - and connects him to the death of a local star athlete six years ago.

Haskins was in Miami training to fight for the starting job left open by the retirement of star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. After a night of dining and drinking, Haskins ran out of gas on a westbound I-595 just west of I-95. It was 6:30 a.m., the end of one of many such evenings, which ended uneventfully enough.

The toxicology report found that Haskins’ alcohol levels were at 0.20 and 0.24 from two separate samples. In Florida, drivers are considered to be driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or more. A urine sample also came back positive for ketamine and norketamine, which is found in the body after ketamine, an anti-depressant, is metabolized.

In his impaired state, Haskins left his car to look for a gas station, near the busy interstate, just before sunrise. Drivers reported seeing Haskins “waving cars down” while on the shoulder on the westbound side of the interstate, the report says. Since apparently no one stopped, Haskins must have left the shoulder, maybe tried to cross the road.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, he was hit first by a dump truck and then by the driver of a Subaru Outback.

Such a horrible mistake, a miscalculation that cost him his life.

Fernández dies

Haskins’ death reminds us of that of Miami Marlins popular pitcher José Fernández, who was also 24 when he died in a horrific boating accident in Miami Beach in the early hours of Sept. 25, 2016.

Fernández, too, after a night of drinking on the water slammed his 32-foot boat into the rock jetties on Government Cut, killing himself and two other men.

At the time, national radio sportscaster Dan Le Batard said the league has lost “it’s most exciting pitcher in baseball” in the Cuban-born pitching ace who had been named Rookie of the Year in 2013. Fernández was on the cusp of becoming a Major League star and of signing multimillion-dollar contracts. It all died with his bad judgment.

Fernández’s toxicology report also revealed he had cocaine in his system and was legally drunk, with a blood alcohol content of .147, nearly twice the legal limit. He had been looking for friends and players to party with the night he died.

In Haskins’ case, the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office report says the rookie had been training in South Florida with his teammates, and they all went to dinner. Then Haskins and a relative went to a club, possibly in Miami, where they “drank heavily” and separated after a fight.

That series of events led Haskins to be on that stretch of road, impaired, out of gas, in the dark.

Could Haskins, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 draft, have become a starting quarterback in the NFL? We’ll never know now.

As always, we mourn the loss of such talented, promising young people, no matter the cause, famous or not.