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Bruce Jenner calls fatal car crash 'a devastating tragedy'

Story highlights

  • Investigators will look at cell phone records for all four drivers involved, sergeant says
  • "I will continue to cooperate in every way possible," Bruce Jenner says
  • The Olympic champion and reality TV star's SUV hit a car, pushing it into the path of an oncoming Hummer

(CNN)Two days after Bruce Jenner was involved in multi-car accident that left a woman dead, several questions remain: Who is at fault? Will anyone face charges? And what caused the crash in the first place?

This much we do know: the Olympic champion and reality TV star said he's cooperating with police in their investigation.
    On Monday, the Sheriff's Department released the name of the woman who died -- Kim Howe, 69, of Calabasas, California.
    "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 a statement released Sunday by his publicist, Alan Nierob.
    "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."
    Earlier, Jenner told police that paparazzi were following him at the time, but he wasn't trying to evade them. Investigators said there's no sign that photographers following him played a role in the crash.
    "He's used to it. He said he wasn't trying to flee them. ... So as far as we're concerned, they're not a factor at this time," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Philip Brooks said.
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    A chain-reaction crash

    The multi-vehicle wreck took place shortly after noon Saturday on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the sheriff's department said.
    It started when the driver of a Toyota Prius either stopped or slowed down and was hit from behind by a white Lexus, Brooks said.
    Jenner, driving a black Cadillac Escalade and towing an off-road vehicle, rear-ended the Lexus, which sent the Lexus into oncoming traffic, Brooks said.
    The Lexus was then struck by a Hummer H2. The driver of the Lexus was killed.
    All five people inside the Hummer -- a family of two adults and three children -- were taken to the hospital as a precaution, Brooks said, but there were no injuries apparent at the time of the collision.
    The driver of the Prius also indicated that she was not injured and left the scene of the crash, Brooks said. Jenner was not injured in the crash, his publicist said.
    He volunteered to provide a blood sample and "was very cooperative with the investigators," Brooks said.

    Investigation launched

    Rear-end collisions are "quite common" in that area of the scenic stretch of highway, Brooks said, and the wreck is being investigated as any "traffic incident involving a fatality" would be.
    "It could take up to six months before a final determination of fault, if any, is made in this case," he said.
    Investigators are reconstructing the collision, among other steps, Brooks said. Asked if the investigation could lead to a manslaughter case, he replied, "There is always the potential for that."
    At this point, it's unclear why the first vehicle involved in the collision, the Prius, had slowed down or stopped, he said.
    One thing that is clear, Brooks said, is that Jenner hit the brakes.
    "There is significant skid evidence to indicate that he did try to stop and was in the process of stopping before the collision," he said.
    All of the surviving drivers are cooperating with investigators, Brooks said.
    In a statement Monday, investigators said they were seeking the public's assistance in locating additional witnesses or anyone with information about the crash.
    Authorities also will be looking at the cell phone records of all four drivers involved, Brooks said.
    California law prohibits driving while reading, writing or sending text messages. It also requires drivers to use hands-free equipment while talking on the phone.
    Several photos from paparazzi purport to show Jenner at the time of the crash.
    "Some say he had a cell phone in his hand. Some say he had a cigarette," Brooks said. "(A) cigarette's irrelevant because it's not illegal to smoke while driving, so it's just his cell phone records that we're getting from his provider that will shed some light on the situation."

    From fame to more fame

    Jenner first catapulted to fame after winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon with a world record score for the 10-discipline event. He quickly capitalized on his success with Wheaties commercials, appearances and other ventures.
    He became an actor, appearing in the drama "CHiPs" in 1981 and occasionally playing himself on shows such as "Silver Spoons."
    In recent years, Jenner gained fame as the well-known stepfather of Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian on their family's E! network reality show. He and Kris Jenner, the show's matriarch, divorced last year.
    E! said Jenner was not shooting for "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" on the day of the accident.
    Howe, the victim in Saturday's crash, was a resident of a gated community where Khloe Kardashian also owns a home, Brooks said.
    Most recently, Jenner has made entertainment headlines over rumors he has started transitioning to become a woman. Jenner has not commented publicly on the speculation.
    CNN's attempts to get comment from Jenner, his agents and his mother about the rumors have gone unanswered. The E! network, which is reportedly working on a documentary with Jenner, has told CNN "we're still not commenting."