Caitlyn Jenner Could Face Manslaughter Charge In Deadly PCH Crash
By Veronica Rocha and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times (TNS)
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives will present evidence next week to prosecutors that could lead to a misdemeanor manslaughter charge against Caitlyn Jenner in a deadly chain-reaction crash earlier this year on Pacific Coast Highway.
Jenner was driving at an unsafe speed Feb. 7 when her Escalade hit Kim Howe’s car, ultimately leading to the deadly crash, said Detective Richard Curry of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Jenner was not driving above the speed limit, but driving at an unsafe speed for the road conditions that day, he added.
The evidence will be presented to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office next week. Prosecutors will review the case and decide whether to formally charge Jenner. Typically, a single misdemeanor manslaughter charge could carry a sentence of a year in jail.
Blair Berk, Jenner’s attorney, declined to comment on the presentation of the evidence.
Detectives will also present evidence against Jessica Steindorff, who was driving a Toyota Prius during the crash and has filed a lawsuit against Jenner. Curry said Steindorff was driving on a suspended license at the time of the crash, and she could be charged with that crime.
Because the case involved a high-profile celebrity, investigators received assistance from the California Highway Patrol and other sheriff’s officials to investigate the crash.
During the six-month probe, detectives reviewed video footage from an MTA bus and photographs from paparazzi, who cooperated with authorities.
Detectives talked to Jenner, the victims, their attorneys and family. They looked at information from the vehicles’ internal computers, as well as cellphone records.
Cellphone records show no one was using the devices at the time of the crash, Curry said.
Detectives combed through driving records and looked at detailed reports from the CHP, which inspected the vehicles.
At the time of the crash near Corral Canyon Road in Malibu, authorities said Howe’s Lexus rear-ended Steindorff’s Prius when it slowed down or suddenly stopped, and that Jenner’s Escalade then rear-ended Howe’s car, thrusting it into oncoming traffic. A Hummer struck Howe’s Lexus after it was pushed into traffic.
Howe, 69, died at the scene.
Steindorff’s attorney, Robert Simon, has said the crash unfolded differently. After the Lexus was hit, Jenner’s SUV continued traveling and slammed into Steindorff’s car.
After the crash, Steindorff and Howe’s family filed a separate lawsuit against Jenner, alleging her actions were negligent and sparked the fatal crash.
Howe’s stepchildren, William Howe and Dana Redmond, said that they have suffered “enormous damages and losses” and that Jenner violated the rules of the road and was negligent.
Steindorff claims she was injured, lost wages and suffered more than $25,000 in damages.
Back in February, Jenner released a statement expressing sadness.
“My heartfelt and deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones, and to all of those who were involved or injured in this terrible accident,” Jenner said in the statement. “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.”
Photo: Caitlyn Jenner, recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is seen on a TV set in the press room during the 2015 ESPY’s award show at Nokia Theater. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)