Bruce Jenner is currently under investigation for his involvement in a multicar accident in which 69 year old Kim Howe was killed after her Lexus collided head on with a Hummer after being rear ended and pushed into oncoming traffic by Jenner’s vehicle. Jenner is currently cooperating with authorities and offering any assistance required in determining the course of events that unfolded in the seconds before the fatal crash. It is still unclear whether he will face criminal charges for his role in the accident, but he may also be held liable in civil court if it is determined that his actions were a contributing factor in the crash due to being distracted while operating a vehicle.
Accident under Investigation
Nearly 80% of auto accidents involve some form of inattention or distraction by the driver according to the NHTSA and the investigation will likely revolve around what transpired in the critical three seconds prior to Jenner’s vehicle colliding with Howe’s. It may take months before accident reconstruction specialists are able to determine the exact cause of the action and the course of events which resulted in a chain reaction accident in which multiple cars collided with one another before sending Howe’s vehicle in the direction of oncoming traffic. It is apparent that Kim Howe collided with a vehicle after it suddenly slowed or came to a stop and that Bruce Jenner then rear ended her with his Escalade. It was the impact of his SUV on her car that sent it on the path which would lead to Howe’s death.
Initial speculation that paparazzi might have distracted Jenner prior to the accident has been dismissed and witnesses have claimed that Jenner was holding something in his hand at the time of the collision. These accounts have prompted authorities to seek phone records in order to determine whether he was texting or talking on the phone while the events unfolded. Not only are texting or talking on the phone while driving against the law but doing so may also be considered an act of negligence in civil court.
Criminal charges have not been ruled out and because the accident resulted in the death of another person, Bruce Jenner may face the charge of vehicular manslaughter. More importantly, he may be held liable to Kim Howe’s family for the payment of damages resulting from her death and the loss of a loved one. Whether Jenner will be held liable for the payment of damages or not will ultimately depend on the results of the ongoing investigation and investigators may not reach a conclusion for up to six months.
If Jenner is found to be responsible, he may be required to reimburse Howe’s family for damages that include funeral and burial expenses, the loss of income she provided to her family, the loss of consortium and other damages which may be the result of her passing in this unfortunate manner. In addition, Jenner may or may not face criminal charges depending on the outcome of the investigation.
New laws are being implemented and enforced across the United States which require drivers to cease from speaking on their cell phones or texting while operating any vehicle. The Bruce Jenner case is only another precautionary tale which should be considered before any person decides to endanger others by driving while distracted. Hopefully this high profile case will bring more attention to the use of phones while driving and encourage more drivers to hang up their phones and resist the urge to text until they have reached their destinations.