The Globe (US), August 14, 2001
KEANU GALPAL'S FATAL CRASH TRIGGERED BY PILLS & COCAINE
by Dawna Kaufmann
The autopsy performed on Keanu Reeves' girlfriend showed she was high on illegal drugs and antidepressants when she was killed in a horrific car crash.
On April 2, Jennifer Maria Syme was driving her 1999 Jeep Cherokee down the wrong side of Hollywood's Cahuenga Boulevard at 6 a.m., when she lost control, sideswiped three parked cars and flipped several times before the mangled vehicle came to rest on its side.
The 29-year-old record industry executive was killed instantly - and in a gruesome manner, according to the autopsy report released by the L.A. County Coroner's office.
The investigator on the scene found Syme, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, laying against the passenger door. Brain matter was discovered along the inside roof, driver's side door and in the roadway. Syme's skull and jaw were shattered and her right eye was protruding from its socket.
Also found in the car were a pair of dollar bills folded into packets containing a white powdery substance, two bottles of prescription medicine and half a white tablet with the letters "VIC," presumably for Vicodin.
Insiders say Syme was being treated for depression after delivering a stillborn baby named Ava, fathered by Reeves, in December 1999. Syme and the actor split up afterward, but gradually rekindled their love.
Fears that the 5-foot-5, 145-pound woman was driving under the influence were proved true by the autopsy. Besides alcohol, Syme had two prescription drugs in her system at the time of her death-Clonazepam, a tranquilizer sometimes prescribed for sleeping problems, and Cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxant.
"Both drugs have drowsiness as a side effect and enhance alcohol intoxication," expert Dr. David Benjamin tells GLOBE. "As alcohol was also ingested, there's a more intensified response."
Syme's mother, Maria St. John, told investigators the first drug was prescribed after Ava's death and the second following a car crash in which Jennifer had been rear-ended.
"There's also a blood alcohol reading of .12 percent, roughly the equivalent of four beers or glasses of wine," says Benjamin. "But we don't know how much she drank in the hours leading up to that.
"She had low levels of cocaine, indicating she hadn't used it for about six hours. But she was in the 'rebound depressive' phase of cocaine intoxication and certainly should not have been driving."