AP Reports Police Will Seek Cell Phone Records of Bruce Jenner Following Fatal Crash
Distracted driving has become one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents. Cell phones have played a major role in the increase in crashes involving inattentive drivers. Given the reputation of the Kardashian clan for self-promotion through social media websites and selfies, the Associated Press report indicating investigators plan to seek Bruce Jenner’s cell phone records following a fatal crash this weekend might not come as a huge surprise.
According to media reports, the Olympic gold medalist and stepfather of Kim Kardashian was driving his black Cadillac Escalade when he rear-ended a Lexus triggering a chain reaction collision. The Lexus slammed into the rear of a black Toyota Prius. The Lexus then veered into oncoming traffic and was struck head-on by a black Hummer. Tragically, the driver of the Lexus died.
An official with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has indicated the agency will probably seek phone records for all of the drivers involved in the multi-vehicle collisions according to the AP report. The agency spokesman also indicated that the sheriff’s office could seek search warrants to obtain the records, so they can check the text and data history of the cell phones for the drivers. Although it can be difficult to determine whether someone was using their cell phone immediately prior to a collision, the spokesman indicated investigators can examine behavior by the drivers like multiple texts over a period of time prior to the crash. The key to using the evidence to bring criminal charges is pinpointing the time of the crash in relationship to the cell phone activity.
The police reportedly have already investigated the possibility that Jenner was fleeing paparazzi but did not find evidence that Jenner was engaged in evasive action to avoid paparazzi. These suspicions may have been fueled by recent media reports alleging Jenner is in the process of transitioning his gender. The moment of impact also was captured by celebrity photographers who immediately uploaded the images to the internet. The photos depict both the mangled front and rear-end of the Lexus which is facing the Hummer. The Hummer is shown with significant damage to the front engine block.
Although this particular collision involved a celebrity, the practice of investigating records from mobile carriers following a fatal crash is common in a rear-end collision. Because this type of collision often involves an inattentive driver, cell phone records might provide evidence to establish that talking or texting caused the crash. While the investigation has not resulted in a determination of fault to this point, subsequent criminal convictions for texting and driving and related criminal charges could also help the family of the deceased driver in a wrongful death lawsuit.
California cell phone driving laws represent a kind of muddled morass that is repeated in the approach taken by legislators in many states. While texting is banned for all drivers, hands-free calling is permitted. Although this approach makes it difficult for police to identify illegal use of a cell phone, California has not elected to prohibit hands-free mobile phone use. The challenge this approach presents to law enforcement has been further complicated by the fact a state court held last year that handheld use of a cell phone is permitted for use of navigation and mapping applications. These conflicting rules regarding use of a cell phone while driving explain why cell phones continue to cause many collisions.
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Because we see the heartbreaking consequences of distracted driving on a regular basis, we urge Georgia drivers not to use their cell phone to talk or text behind the wheel. Our car accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.