Veterinary ophthalmologist Anthony “Tony” Basher was intoxicated when the car he was driving caught fire Nov. 9 near Tucson, Ariz., killing him, the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office reported today.
Dr. Basher, 54, died at the scene from burns and carbon monoxide inhalation. His blood alcohol level was 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit, chief medical examiner Dr. Gregory Hess said.
Basher’s death was ruled an accident.
Basher, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, Dipl. ACVO, was staying at a friend’s rural house when he borrowed the owner’s Mercedes-Benz. He pulled into a neighborhood driveway and drove onto a grassy area, where the car’s heated catalytic converter apparently sparked a fire that engulfed the vehicle, authorities said.
The British-born veterinarian had been working part time in Tucson and at Eye Care for Animals clinics in Temecula and Santa Monica, Calif. He previously practiced at Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego.
Basher was a diplomate of Small Animal Surgery (soft tissue) in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons with an emphasis in ophthalmic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and head and neck surgery.
He graduated from the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London in 1981, completed an internship at the University of Pennsylvania, and served a three-year surgical residency at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine. He also worked as a professor of surgery at the University of Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic Veterinary College.