Jenner phone records, texts could be issue in crash probe
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) – Investigators will likely ask Olympic gold medalist and Kardashian family patriarch Bruce Jenner to surrender his cellphone to determine if he was texting when he was behind the wheel of an SUV involved in a highway crash in Malibu that killed a woman, authorities said Sunday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Philip Brooks said that all the drivers involved in Saturday’s multi-vehicle accident will likely be asked to voluntarily provide their phones so investigators can check call and text data.
Investigators could also request search warrants, if necessary.
The information gleaned from those records could help inform prosecutors, if they were to consider charges against the drivers involved.
However, Brooks said it is difficult to determine if a driver was texting at the exact time of a collision. Investigators will look at signs of driver behavior such as multiple texts that span a period of time leading up to, or including, the crash, Brooks said.
The sheriff’s department has custody of all the vehicles and will be inspecting them to ensure they’re mechanically sound or whether a defect prevented somebody from stopping in time.
Investigators are trying to determine who or what triggered the crash on Pacific Coast Highway. One woman died in the crash, and seven others were injured.
The celebrity gossip website TMZ first reported that the department could issue a search warrant to determine if Jenner was texting at the time of the accident.
The moment of impact was captured by celebrity photographers who quickly posted the images on the Internet. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said there was no indication Jenner was being chased by paparazzi at the time of the crash.
“Being a celebrity, he is often followed by paparazzi. He was aware of that, and it doesn’t appear he took any evasive action to avoid the paparazzi,” Brooks said.
Authorities said Jenner cooperated with investigators, passed a field sobriety test and voluntarily submitted a blood sample to determine whether he was intoxicated, Brooks said.
“He did not appear intoxicated or under the influence of anything at the time,” the sergeant said.
Jenner’s publicist, Alan Nierob, said Jenner wasn’t hurt, but he offered no additional details.
Jenner was going north when his black Cadillac Escalade rear-ended a Lexus sedan that had just struck the back of a black Toyota Prius, Brooks said. The Lexus veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a black Hummer.
The driver of the Lexus – a 69-year-old woman – was pronounced dead at the scene.
Photos of the crash site showed the white Lexus mangled in the front and back, facing the Hummer, which had a heavily damaged engine and its hood popped open. Jenner’s Escalade, which was pulling an off-road vehicle, had a damaged front end.
The crash comes at a time of widespread talk that Jenner, 65, is becoming a woman.
Though Jenner himself has declined public comment, those in his inner circles have not challenged the mounting speculation that he is preparing to live as a woman and perhaps will appear in a new reality series about his transition.
Jenner’s appearance has gradually become more traditionally feminine, and his mother, Esther Jenner, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she had spoken with her son about his private and public journey.
Jenner won a gold medal in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Summer Games, but he is known to a younger generation as Kim Kardashian’s stepfather. He and Kris Jenner appeared on the reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” along with their children, and the pair’s relationship and its troubles have been featured prominently on the show.
The two finalized their divorce late last year, ending 23 years of marriage.