Attorney Benjamin R. Greene, 2014 file photo. 

Henry A. Barros/ The Californian

Bakersfield attorney Benjamin Greene, who died after collapsing during a 5K run at Hart Park in June, was found to have had drugs in his system at the time of death, according to the Kern County coroner’s office.

The coroner’s office conducted a postmortem examination and found that the cause of death was hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, but that methamphetamine, found in Greene's system, was a contributing factor.

The prescription drug phentermine, a weight loss aid, was also detected.

Greene’s death on June 20 raised questions in the community about why the run was held during a heat wave and whether or not the temperature caused Greene’s collapse.

The Bakersfield Track Club, which put on the event, had five aid stations available to runners due to the high heat providing water and other items. Typically there are only three aid stations during events.

Greene, who was 48, is survived by wife Michelle; children Erica, Jacob, Destiny, Tayler, Tyler, Joseph, Cyrus, Laila and Bella; parents Donald and Georgeann Greene; and brother Andrew.

(11) comments


It's absurd that this would even be litigated. It's a shame, but this guy was completely culpable. Just leave it alone, and move on.


Very well said


The headline that references “meth” is misleading. “Meth” as used here is prejudicial as most would associate it with an illegal drug rather than a prescription drug.

Jose Gustavo

It should be noted that Phentermine is well known to cause a false positive result for methamphetamine on drug tests. It should also be noted that the coroner is a career "law enforcement" agent and politician. We all know the old joke, "How do you know if a politician is lying? His lips are moving", and that politicians make a living out of lying, making them quite literally professional liars. You may, however, NOT be aware that the supreme court has ruled that it is legally permissible for "law enforcement" agents to lie in the performance of their duties and that it is the responsibility of the individual to know whether or not he/she is being lied to(see Frazier v. Cupp, Michigan v. Moseley, Oregon v. Mathiason, Illinois v. Perkins, and State v. Cayward, to name a few). This effectively makes the coroner, who is also the sheriff, Donny Youngblood, a professional liar x 2. Additionally, being a personal injury attorney would likely have caused Mr. Greene to have litigated against the
sheriff dept and Youngblood, himself, on more than one occasion, given how often deputies run people over or shoot them in kern county. Upon consideration of these facts, it is likely that Mr. Greene was only on his prescribed medication and not some undercover "tweaker" that everybody is so eager to believe he was.


The info on phentermine is important to the article. The paper should make a correction.


Well I hope everyone who was bashing the Bakersfield Track Club for his death apologies for their comments. All of us who ran that night as well as prior summer series runs knew the risks and took them into consideration. The BTC was not at fault. I have run in the summer series for 3 years now, and I didn't run my fastest that night. I had a cooling towel around my neck, and I carried a bottle of ice. The BTC also had extra aid stations along the way. Most of the runs (5k and 10k) that I do not have EMTs onsite.

The Brit

They also misdirected the emergency services which, given the cause of death, a heart attack, clearly did not help Ben much. As you suggested--- most. This series has enough entrants to warrant an EMT onsite. Two deaths in three years in races organized by the BTC...


Phentermine is an appetite suppressant. A dangerous side-effect of the drug is an irregular heart beat.


No surprise about drugs in his system, I bet it was cocaine. Guess he was a bigger scum bag than I thought. Harvey Weinsein got nothing on ol' BG


Well there goes any lawsuit against the race organiizers.

The Brit

Not really. By virtue of the fact that the organizers added extra water stations, they were essentially acknowledging that it was not a normal day to run. They were also demonstrably deficient with regards their race procedures. Just as one example, the BTC misdirected the emergency services which led to delays which were likely critical given the cause of death. Another person died of a heart attack in the past few years at a race organized by the BTC. That death does not seem to have been discussed. I suppose we shall see how this plays out in Court.

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