On Saturday (Feb. 7) afternoon Bruce Jenner was involved in a major car accident on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. It was a four car crash with eight people, including five children involved. Seven people have minor to moderate injuries, but one woman died. If convicted, Bruce can face up to six years in prison.
There are eyewitnesses who say they saw Bruce’s Escalade rear end a Lexus. This caused the car to dive into traffic and resulted in another blow from a Hummer, but not before it bumped into a Prius. Bruce is saying the accident was caused by him being chased by paparazzi, which can’t be completely proven or disproven. According to L.A County Sheriff Brooks, “That wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s always possible…We can’t confirm that.”
After the crash, Bruce took an field sobriety test—which he passed—and he also volunteered to go to the hospital to have his blood drawn for alcohol testing.
He wasn’t intoxicated.
Law enforcement was also able to prove Bruce was not speeding and was trying to avoid the entire accident. According to TMZ, sources say there are skid marks consistent with Bruce steering right at last minute to avoid a crash. Unfortunately, instead it caused the Lexus to veer left into traffic.
So why is Bruce Jenner facing the possibility of jail time? Well, law enforcement are in the process of getting a search warrant for Bruce’s cellphone to determine if he was texting at the time of the accident. L.A County Sheriff is trying to get a warrant for his phone records and the actual phone. Since texting while driving is illegal in California, Bruce could face vehicle manslaughter charges, if they can show he was using his phone. Even if he was, that’s going to be rather difficult to prove.
HollywoodLife spoke with criminal defense attorney, James E. Silverstein, who further explained Bruce’s current situation. Here is what he said:
“Bruce Jenner has put himself in a tough spot. He has admitted driving a vehicle which struck another vehicle, causing at least one death and several other serious injuries. He has apparently told the Sheriff’s Department that he was not driving under the influence and was attempting to flee paparazzi who were on his tail.
Because of the death and serious injuries, the Sheriff’s Department will investigate all angles of this tragedy. When someone kills another person while behind the wheel, they can be charged with murder or manslaughter, depending on the circumstances.
For a murder rap, the government would have to prove that Bruce acted with malice aforethought, which would be the case if, for instance, he intentionally struck another car, or was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the collision. Preliminarily, it appears as if Bruce was attempting to evade pursuing paparazzi when he struck another vehicle, causing a deadly chain reaction collision. Based upon this scenario, a murder rap would not seem appropriate.
However, vehicular manslaughter is a more plausible consideration and concern for Bruce. Vehicular manslaughter could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The standard is whether or not Bruce acted negligently or grossly negligent in causing the collision. If Bruce’s negligence was gross in nature, then he would be looking at a felony. A conviction for either regular or gross vehicular manslaughter would almost certainly result in a lengthy jail sentence. In the event of a gross vehicular manslaughter conviction, depending on what other charges are involved, Bruce could face up to six years or more behind bars.
Therefore, the Sheriff’s Department will need to determine whether Bruce acted negligently or grossly negligent in evading pursuing paparazzi. Eyewitness testimony will be crucial in determining the circumstances surrounding Bruce’s conduct, such as whether the paparazzi were themselves acting dangerously in their pursuit of photographing Bruce, whether a reasonable person in Bruce’s position would feel he was in danger, and whether it was reasonable and justified for Bruce to drive in the manner he drove in that situation.”
Another thing cops are investigating is the Prius driver’s story. She says she stopped at the red light, but her car was found 300 feet from the actual light. According to TMZ, law enforcement is calling her story “vague.” They’re not sure if she was prepping for an illegal u-turn or if she stopped behind row of cars.