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NBA star had cocktail of drugs & alcohol in system before crash that killed him & wife

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Rasual Butler, a journeyman basketball player who played for seven teams over a 14-year NBA career, died on January 31 at the age of 38 when his SUV jumped a curb on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles and plowed through several parking meters before slamming into a wall and flipping over.

Butler’s NBA family mourned and sent words of support both to his family and the family of his wife, singer Leah LaBelle, who was in the Range Rover with him on that fateful night.

Sadly, both deaths could have been easily prevented.

Butler was high and drunk when he lost control of his vehicle, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office revealed that Butler had marijuana, painkillers and methamphetamine in his system.

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Any one of those substances would have been plenty enough to impair his driving on its own.

But he also had an empty box of Don Julio tequila that was found in the car at the scene of the wreck, the contents of which were at least in part circulating through his bloodstream at a level sufficient that he’d have blown a .118 had he been breathalyzed, KTLA reported.

The legal limit in California for alcohol is .08, and the mere presence of drugs in one’s system while driving is sufficient to merit a DUI.

The cause of death for both Butler and LaBelle was determined to be “multiple traumatic injuries,” per KTLA.

At the time, the scene of the accident was a magnet for people who left flowers, candles and balloons where the crash had occurred.

Butler’s friend Selena Davis remembered the wandering fan-favorite baller as “the most amazing and sweet, warm person.”

She also said he “touched a lot of lives.”

Butler was drafted in 2002 by the Miami Heat and made his NBA debut that year.

He started 28 games his rookie season, scoring 7.5 points per game.

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He would go on to average that number in a career that ended in 2016 after Butler had appeared in 809 career games, starting 266 of them.

His peak came in 2009, when as a member of the Hornets, he started 74 games and averaged 11.2 points per contest.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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