Ann O'Donnell: UH Cop Had Cocaine in Her System at Time of Fatal Crash

Ann O'Donnell, the first UH cop to die on duty, had cocaine in her system when she crashed her car into a tree in a front yard of North MacGregor last year, the university has announced.

UH said the report from the Harris County Medical Examiner showed the drug in her system, but officials would not say how much of the drug was found or whether it might have caused the accident. In fact, they refused to answer any questions beyond the statement they issued.

O'Donnell, 24, was answering a call on Christmas Eve when the one-car crash occurred.

The full text of the university's statement:

The University of Houston has issued this statement regarding a review of procedures at its Department of Public Safety:

UH Police Chief Malcolm Davis said, "We have received information from the Harris County Medical Examiner's report indicating that UHDPS Officer Ann O'Donnell, who was killed Dec. 24, 2010, when her patrol car struck a tree near the campus, had cocaine in her system."

And that was it, verbatim.

UH spokesperson Shawn Lindsey tells Hair Balls the statement was issued "as a response to a specific inquiry."

Update: Late in the day UH sent out an additional statement.

Police officers go through drug screening as part of the application process to be hired at UHDPS.

Department procedures had allowed for drug testing for reasonable suspicion. However, a university review indicated a zero-tolerance, random drug-testing policy at UHDPS would be good management practice and would support UHDPS' commitment of safeguarding the University of Houston campus community. This routine drug-testing policy was drafted in March and is going through final review. It will be implemented immediately upon completion.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly