LOS ANGELES — Actor Anne Heche, gravely injured and in a coma following a car crash last week, had drugs in her system and is being investigated for possibly driving under the influence, police said Thursday.
Heche, 53, was hospitalized in critical condition after the Aug. 5 crash that spread flames into a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista, officials said.
“In preliminary testing, the blood draw revealed the presence of drugs,” according an LAPD statement. “The case is being investigated as felony DUI traffic collision.”
It’s a felony probe “due to female in the house” who was “engulfed in flames,” police said. The woman living in the home has been identified as Lynne Mishele.
“Ms. Mishele is devastated by what happened to her on Friday — not only because she and her pets almost lost their lives, but because all of her property, including items of profound sentimental value, were destroyed,” the woman’s lawyer Shawn Holley said in a statement.
Heche was still in a coma and on and on a ventilator Thursday, surrounded by friends and family at the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles. “Tests have been done and doctors are evaluating whether certain surgeries can be done to improve her situation,” according to a representative for Heche.
Her 20-year-old son, Homer Laffoon, has been designated as the actor’s next of kin, the representative added.
Heche first came to attention on the soap opera “Another World” and later gained fame in films such as “Donnie Brasco,” “Volcano,” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” She has also acted in TV series including “Chicago P.D.” and “Men in Trees.”
Heche has said her over three years relationship with comedian and talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres — while groundbreaking as a high-profile, same-sex romance in the 1990s — damaged her film career.
She most recently had a recurring role in the CBS legal drama “All Rise.”
She also hosts a podcast with public relations guru Heather Duffy called “Better Together,” in which they “celebrate friendship, and we believe that we can create more joy in the world by sharing our stories, stumbles, and triumphs.”
Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles and David K. Li from New York City.