Award-winning journalist Michael Hastings told his neighbor that he was afraid to drive his Mercedes because he believed it had been tampered with, according to a LA Weekly report.
Jordanna Thigpen, a neighbor who had grown close to Hastings, claims he knocked on her door at around midnight one night and asked to borrow her Volvo because he was scared to drive his own vehicle.
“He was scared, and he wanted to leave town,” she told LA Weekly. She didn’t lend Hastings her car because it was in need of repairs.
The next morning, June 18, at roughly 11:15 a.m., Thigpen’s landlord informed her that Hastings had died in an early morning car crash and his Mercedes had exploded in a ball of fire. She said she “burst into tears.”
Thigpen had become friends with Hastings after the writer, known for his coverage of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, moved into her apartment building overlooking Hollywood. She said Hastings’ behavior grew “increasingly erratic” and that he thought helicopters circling over their building were there to keep a watchful eye on him.
“Nothing I could say could console him,” said.
Earlier this week, a toxicology report was released showing that he had traces of methamphetamines and marijuana in his system. Family members had said that Hastings — who suffered from addiction problems in the past — had recently suffered a relapse.
According to the LA Weekly report, Hastings was “intensely interested” in the government surveillance of journalists and was convinced he was a target.
Hastings died in a fiery car crash at 4:20 a.m. on June 18. He was 33.
“Hastings’ family and the Los Angeles Police Department both have dismissed the conspiracies. LAPD also has ruled out suicide,” the report adds.
Read LA Weekly’s full report here.