SAUGET, Ill. - Three days before he was killed in a highway wreck, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was involved in a predawn accident, police said.

Officers who talked with the 29-year-old reliever moments after the front of his sport-utility vehicle was clipped by a tractor-trailer in Sauget found Hancock to be lucid. He did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol, Police Chief Patrick Delaney said yesterday.

No sobriety or breath tests were given to Hancock, and no tickets were issued, Delaney said. The SUV was too damaged to drive home.

Hancock was driving a rented Ford Explorer early Sunday when it slammed into a flatbed tow truck on Interstate 64 in St. Louis. Autopsy results had not been released, and toxicology tests were pending.

While waiting for a cab to take him home after the accident in Sauget, Hancock told another officer he disliked night games followed by day games. The pitcher said he often drove around to make himself tired enough to rest, the chief said.

Hours later, Hancock showed up late at Busch Stadium for a day game against Cincinnati.