(Reuters) - Paparazzi photographers were not responsible for a deadly traffic accident involving Olympic gold medallist and reality TV star Bruce Jenner, who appeared uninjured in the four-car crash on a California highway this weekend, police said on Sunday.
Jenner, who has become the object of intense media attention since reports that he planned to become a woman, was accustomed to attracting photographers, said Sergeant Philip Brooks of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department station in Malibu/Lost Hills. He said their presence did not appear to contribute to the Saturday crash, which killed one person.
“He wasn’t trying to evade,” Brooks said in a phone interview, adding that paparazzi “are not considered to be a factor in the collision at all.”
The 65-year-old former track star, who declined medical treatment at the scene, was back in the news this week after People magazine reported that he has informed family members that he was planning to change of gender.
On Sunday, Jenner said he was praying for the family and loved ones of the victims.
“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 to Reuters 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.”
Questions about the role of paparazzi in the crash were raised by celebrity website TMZ, which reported that Jenner was being chased at the time, citing family sources.
Alcohol and drug use also did not appear to factor into the incident, said Brooks, noting that Jenner had passed a field sobriety test and voluntarily submitted a blood sample.
He said speeding was not considered a factor, either.
“We may check into cell phone records at some time in the future, but nothing has been determined,” Brooks said.
Jenner, who won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, returned to the public spotlight after starring in the television series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” The show primarily followed the exploits of Kim Kardashian and the other children of Jenner’s now ex-wife.
Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the People magazine report saying Jenner planned a gender change.
Additional reporting by Karen Brooks; Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Andrew Hay and Eric Walsh