Conspiracy Theories Surround Reporter Michael Hastings Death
Was this shocking car crash a tragic accident, or murder?
Dramatic video was shot just moments after the Mercedes slammed into a palm tree in Hollywood around 4:00 a.m. on June 18th.
The driver who died in the inferno was one of the country's top investigative journalists—33-year-old Michael Hastings. He's best-known for a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of general Stanley McChrystal as U.S. Commander in Afghanistan in 2010.
Michael Hastings died in that fiery crash on Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. Because the investigative reporter was working on a story about the CIA before his death, it didn't take long before conspiracy theorists started claiming foul play was involved.
One blogger went so far as to suggest Hastings didn't die in an accident, but was assassinated. And one man actually hammered a sign into the palm tree claiming a conspiracy in Hastings' death.
Conspiracy theorists are pointing to the intensity of the fiery explosion as highly unusual in a single car crash. They also point to an email Hastings sent to friends just hours before the crash, saying: "I'm onto a big story, and need to go off the radar for a bit."
INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret spoke to freelance news cameraman Scott Lane, who shot the video of Hastings' car in flames.
"I turned the corner, saw the car was on fire. I saw a homeowner, he had a hose in his hand and was trying to put out the fire," said Lane.
Lane told Moret he was sitting in his car at a gas station, listening to his police scanner right before the crash. His dashcam caught Hastings' Mercedes running a red light at high speed. Even in slow motion, the car is gone in almost the blink of an eye.
The controversial website Wikileaks says Hastings claimed he was being investigated by the FBI, but an FBI spokesperson says: "At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI."
But that hasn't stopped the well-known conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from claiming that Hastings' death wasn't an accident.
Jones said, "I've looked at the evidence and it looks like a car bomb."
Jones, who sees conspiracies everywhere has faced criticism for years.
INSIDE EDITION asked Stephen Emolo, an accident investigator, to look at the video.
"I don't believe there's anything out of the ordinary in the type of fire that we see that ignited in this crash," said Emolo. "If a vehicle crashes and a fuel line is severed, a fire will ignite and over time the fire will become more and more intense."
The cameraman who recorded the crash that's now burning up the internet agrees.
Scott Lane said, "All I know is that a car was traveling fast, hit a tree, burst into flames. That's what happened."