ESPN reported that Howe's pickup truck rolled over several times shortly before 6 p.m. PST Thursday in Coachella, Calif., 130 miles east of Los Angeles.
Howe was involved in several drug-related cases during a career that ran from 1980-1996. He was a first-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in '80, when he earned National League Rookie of the Year honors.
"The entire Dodger organization is deeply saddened by the loss of Steve and our sympathies go out to his family and friends," the Dodgers said in a statement on their Web site. "He will go down as one of the best closers in franchise history (and) will be missed."
Howe had a 47-41 record with 91 saves and an ERA of 3.03, pitching for the Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins, the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees.