RELATED | Phone Records Sought In Fatal Malibu Crash Involving Bruce Jenner
Kim Howe of Calabasas died at the scene of the noontime Saturday collision on Pacific Coast Highway near Corral Canyon Road, which closed a two-mile stretch of the highway for hours. Five others, including three children, were hurt, but none seriously.
Jenner, whose apparent transition from male to female landed him on the cover of this week's issue of People magazine, was being tailed by paparazzi, but sheriff's Sgt. Philip Brooks said the reality television star was not trying to outrun them at the time of the four-vehicle crash.
Brooks said investigators would examine cellphone records of all the motorists involved in the crash to determine whether anyone was texting at the time.
Jenner, who was unhurt, issued a statement Sunday, saying he was praying for Howe's family and would continue to cooperate fully with the crash investigation.
"My heartfelt and deepest sympathies go out to the family and loves ones, and to all of those who were involved or injured in this terrible accident,'' he said in a statement released by his publicist. "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.''
Authorities said Howe's Lexus crashed into a black Toyota Prius whose driver had slowed or stopped several hundred feet before the PCH traffic signal at Corral Canyon Road for unknown reasons.
The 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medalist's Cadillac Escalade, hauling an off-road vehicle on a trailer, then rear-ended the Lexus, which pushed the sedan into the path of an oncoming Hummer SUV.
"Mr. Jenner is constantly followed by paparazzi, he was aware of paparazzi following him,'' Brooks told City News Service. "He was not trying to elude them or anything (and) they were not chasing him. They just follow him and he knows 'Yeah, there's paparazzi with me.' As you know, on PCH it's a straight highway; you can't elude anyone.''
He noted that in the pileup, the victim's car "was essentially sandwiched by the two heaviest cars possible on the road.''
A major issue that remained unclear was why the Prius, driven by a woman, had stopped or slowed.
"She's not paparazzi, she was kind of unclear'' about why she was blocking traffic, Brooks told CNS.
The trailer had brakes that left skid marks, which are being analyzed to determine the Escalade's speed, he said.
Anyone who witnessed or has information regarding the collision was asked to contact the sheriff's station at (818) 878-1808, or Detective Richard Curry at (818) 878-5557.
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