Coroner Says Kennedy Died Instantly

An autopsy report released Sunday says the fatal injuries Michael Kennedy suffered when he hit a tree while skiing New Year’s Eve in Colorado were instantaneous and incapacitating.

It also said that two sets of drug tests found no trace of alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine or opium in Kennedy’s system.

The coroner who performed the autopsy said the 39-year-old Kennedy fractured his skull and cervical vertebrae and severed his spinal cord when he hit the tree.

Deputy coroner Tom Walsh said even if Kennedy had survived the head-on crash he would have been paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Walsh said a helmet might have helped Kennedy survive the impact, but it would not have protected him from the spinal and neck injuries suffered in the crash.

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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