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Toran's Blood-Alcohol Level Is Put at Three Times Limit

August 11, 1989|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

OXNARD — Raider safety Stacey Toran had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the state limit for intoxication when he died last Saturday in an auto accident, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said Thursday.

Toran had a level of .32%. California law recognizes .10 as the legal limit.

Sgt. Robert Topete, of the Los Angeles Police Department's West Traffic Division, called .32 "particularly high."

Dr. Ernest Noble, professor of alcohol studies at UCLA, told the Associated Press: "That's getting almost to the unconscious level. For a guy who weighs that much . . . to get to the .32 level, that would be approximately 16 drinks" within an hour.

"A lot of people, when they reach that level, pass out," Noble said. "This poor fellow must have been extremely out (of it) when he was driving. In my experience, I've rarely seen people hit that high of a level. . . . Obviously, he could start the car, but as far as control, he was completely out of whack."

Toran failed to hold a turn on Glencoe Boulevard, a block from his Marina Del Rey home, and was killed when his car flipped over and threw him out.

Police are still withholding specific details, but Detective Robert Smith of West Traffic said that Toran had dinner Saturday night in the Marina with two or three friends, none of them football players.

Toran had participated in the Raiders' Family Day in Oxnard in the afternoon. He is thought to have started home around 4:30 or 5:30 in the afternoon. The crash occurred at 11:30 p.m.

Smith said that police also are still looking for the rider of a motorcycle, who several witnesses claim was riding alongside Toran's car when the auto jumped the curb.

Hector Padilla, an area resident and an eyewitness, has said he couldn't tell whether Toranand the motorcycle were racing. Padilla guessed Toran's speed at 40 to 50 m.p.h. The speed limit for the curve is 35 m.p.h.

Police said Toran was not wearing a seat belt.

"Point-32, of course, answers a whole lot of questions," said Smith.

Toran's friends and teammates have insisted that he was a moderate drinker. When the report was released, Raider players seemed stunned.

"I've talked to a lot of Stacey's friends," said Coach Mike Shanahan, who eulogized Toran in a memorial service Wednesday. "Not one person ever told me they'd seen Stacey intoxicated.

'He was a person who'd go out and have a few beers. But he wasn't the type to go out and get drunk. So when I heard the news, I was shocked."

Greg Townsend, his roommate for five seasons, said any suggestion that Toran was a heavy drinker was a lie.

"Stacey's been in camp and I've been around him 24 hours a day," Townsend said. "We went out and had drinks one time in all of camp. I've been with him every day. It's a lie.

"He'd drink a beer. He had a favorite drink, something he'd mix with cranberry juice. But that's it."

Said Vann McElroy: "What can you say? That happened but it doesn't make him less of a man. It's unfortunate it happened. I mean, people go out. He'd had a hard week and worked hard and went out to relax a little bit. Obviously, he was getting in at a decent hour. He was going home.

"What do you say? The point is, he's gone. Do you want to make a bad issue out of it? Make Stacey look like an alcoholic?

"The point is, that happened. Everybody has had a drink, or whatever. Most people have been drunk at some point in time.

"I'm sorry it happened for Stacey. If there's any good that comes out of it, I hope that young people can just see what can happen, just be extra careful."

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