Sheriff’s detectives have opened a vehicular manslaughter investigation into the cause of a deadly four-vehicle crash in Malibu that involved Olympic decathlon champion and reality TV star Bruce Jenner, CNN recently reported.
The investigation was expected to focus on everyone involved in Saturday’s incident, which claimed the life of an elderly woman, a source close to CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos said.
In the incident, which appeared to be captured by paparazzi photos, a blue Prius slowed or stopped for unknown reasons on Highway 1 when it was hit from behind by a white Lexus, driven by the woman who died, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said.
A black SUV that photos showed appeared to be towing a trailer and possible off-roading vehicle, driven by Jenner, then slammed into the white Lexus, causing the car to head into oncoming traffic. The Lexus then crashed into a Hummer, Sgt. Philip Brooks said.
The driver of the Lexus was identified as Kim Howe, a 69-year-old Calabasas woman, by the Los Angeles Times.
The crash occurred around noon near Corral Canyon Road (map).
All three surviving drivers were cooperating in the investigation, sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Parker tweeted Saturday.
Jenner was uninjured, did not appear to be at fault and passed a voluntary field sobriety test before going to the hospital to give a blood sample, Brooks said the day of the crash.
Five people – including two adults, two children and a 1-month-old baby – were in the Hummer and suffered minor injuries. All were transported to a local hospital for treatment, sheriff’s officials said.
The driver of the Prius declined medical attention, officials added.
On Sunday, Jenner released a statement in which he publicly addressed the incident for the first time.
“My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and loved ones, and to all of those who were involved or injured in this terrible accident,” the statement said. “It is a devastating tragedy and I cannot pretend to imagine what this family is going through at this time. I am praying for them. I will continue to cooperate in every way possible.”
Photos posted online Saturday by celebrity gossip website TMZ showed Jenner holding something in his hands, reportedly immediately before the crash. The story headline asked if he had been texting during the incident.
Investigators planned to examine Jenner’s phone records to see if he was using it during the crash, the Times reported Saturday.
TMZ later posted close-up images of the photos, claiming Jenner was actually holding a cigarette.
Officials told CNN Saturday the paparazzi did not appear to be a factor in the deadly crash.
“As of right now, there is no indication that Bruce Jenner was being chased by paparazzi at the time of the crash,” Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Lecrivain said. “There was a possibility that paparazzi was following him at the time of the crash, but that is a very regular occurrence, and (there is) no indication at this time it was a contributing factor of the crash.”
Hours after the initial crash, a suspected DUI driver drove through police tape and crashed into the Hummer and Lexus. No one was injured in the second incident.
The Lexus driver’s identity and cause of death were expected to be officially determined by the L.A. County coroner’s office.
Jenner is a former track and field athlete who placed first in the decathlon at the Summer Olympics in 1976. He also recently starred in the E! reality TV series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
KTLA’s John A. Moreno contributed to this report.