WASHINGTON — Traces of cocaine, marijuana and the painkiller Darvon were found in Rick Nelson's blood in tests conducted after the New Year's Eve plane crash that killed the pop singer and six other people, officials said today.
Toxicological reports released by the National Transportation Safety Board showed traces of metabolized and unmetabolized cocaine and a compound of Darvon in Nelson's blood and urine samples. His blood samples showed traces of marijuana.
Nelson, his fiancee and five members of his band were killed in the fire that forced his propeller-driven DC-3 to make an emergency landing in a wooded section of northeast Texas near De Kalb.
The safety board is investigating to find the cause of the fire, which began while the plane was still in the air and consumed the craft on the ground. The only survivors were the pilot and co-pilot, separated from the passenger compartment by a wall.
Safety board officials have said the investigation includes a check on the possibility that free-basing--in which a flame is used to process cocaine--contributed to the fire.
The medical tests, conducted by the Center for Human Toxicology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and the Civil Aeromedic Institute in Oklahoma City, revealed traces of cocaine in the bodies of two other members of Nelson's group--Andy Chapin and Patrick Woodard.
Small amounts of marijuana also were found in their blood, Nelson's blood and in blood samples taken from two other passengers--Rick Intveld and Bobby Neal, the toxicology reports said.
Members of Nelson's family have denied past reports of cocaine use by the singer, who got his start on his family's television show, the "Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."