Prosecutors decline to file charges against Caitlyn Jenner in deadly PCH crash
LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors have declined to file charges against Caitlyn Jenner, who deputies said caused a deadly chain-reaction crash on Pacific Coast Highway in February.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office determined prosecutors would not be able to prove in court that Jenner was responsible for the crash, so they declined to file a misdemeanor manslaughter charge against her.
Prosecutors said Jenner applied her brakes 4.2 seconds before the crash and was driving slightly below the speed limit.
“Based on the facts, (we) cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect's conduct was unreasonable,” said prosecutor Patricia Wilkinson in a declination document.
In August, L.A. County Sheriff's Department Detective Richard Curry said Jenner was driving at an unsafe speed Feb. 7 when her Cadillac Escalade rear-ended Kim Howe's Lexus, sending it into oncoming traffic, ultimately leading to the 69-year-old driver's death.
Jenner was pulling an off-road vehicle on a trailer and had to suddenly slow as vehicles in front stopped. Curry said Jenner was complying with the speed limit but moving too fast for the road conditions that day. Howe died at the scene after Jenner's SUV hit her car and sent it into the path of a Hummer coming in the opposite direction.
The deadly crash near Corral Canyon Road came before Jenner announced her gender transition. At the time, she was Bruce Jenner, best known as the father figure of the Kardashian family and 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medal winner.
Jenner has called the crash a “devastating tragedy,” saying, “I cannot pretend to imagine what this family is going through at this time. I am praying for them.”
During the six-month investigation, detectives with the help of the California Highway Patrol reviewed video footage from an MTA bus and photographs from members of the paparazzi, who cooperated with authorities. They interviewed those involved, obtained the vehicles' computers and checked driving and cellphone records. None of the drivers was on a phone at the time of the crash, and investigators have no evidence that Jenner was distracted, Curry said.
Evidence will also be presented that Jessica Steindorff, who was driving a Toyota Prius, had a suspended license at the time of the crash, and she could be charged for that, he said.
Initially, investigators said Howe rear-ended Steindorff's Prius and then Jenner hit Howe's Lexus. But Steindorff's attorney, Robert Simon, has said the crash unfolded differently. After hitting the Lexus, Jenner's SUV continued traveling and slammed into Steindorff's car, Simon said.
Steindorff and Howe's family are separately suing Jenner, alleging that she was negligent.