Almost a year after the deadly Malibu car crash that saw one woman’s life cut short, Caitlyn Jenner has settled her first lawsuit with Jessica Steindorff, the Hollywood agent driving the Prius at the time of the crash.
On February 7, 2015, Caitlyn Jenner, who still identified as Bruce Jenner at the time, was towing an off-road vehicle behind her Cadillac Escalade when she swerved to avoid cars slowing down for a traffic light on the Pacific Coast Highway, reports CBC News. Jenner, who investigators determined was travelling at an unsafe speed at the time of the collision, then rear-ended two cars — the Prius, driven by Steindorff, and a Lexus sedan, driven by Kim Howe, that was pushed into oncoming traffic from the force of the crash. After being forced into the opposite lane by Jenner’s Cadillac, Howe’s car was hit by a Hummer, and she was killed.
Caitlyn Jenner faced three lawsuits resulting from the fatal crash. Howe’s stepchildren filed a wrongful death suit against her, Peter Wolf-Millesi, the driver of the Hummer, sued Jenner for damages, and Steindorff also filed a suit against her, claiming “serious medical injuries and lost wages.” On Monday, Caitlyn Jenner allegedly reached a settlement with Steindorff for an unspecified amount that was reportedly paid in full by Jenner’s insurance company.
According to the New York Daily News, Howe’s stepchildren filed their own suit against Jenner in May, claiming she was “careless and negligent” in her involvement in the crash when her car pushed Howe’s into oncoming traffic. In August, however, Wolf-Millesi and his family sued Kim Howe’s estate for $1.85 million, alleging that she was, in fact, the one responsible for the crash that claimed her life.
In October, prosecutors decided that they wouldn’t charge Caitlyn Jenner for her role in the car crash, despite the findings of Sheriff’s investigators that she was driving over the speed limit and at an “unsafe speed for traffic conditions,” Jenner’s attorney, Blair Berk, said in a statement after the ruling.
“We are heartened the district attorney has agreed that even a misdemeanor charge would be inappropriate. A traffic accident, however devastating and heartbreaking when a life is lost, is not necessarily a criminal matter.”
It was a ruling that no doubt calmed Jenner’s nerves who, in an interview with Matt Lauer in September, said going to jail as a transwoman would be the “worst-case scenario.”
“It is an enormous problem that they would put transwomen in a men’s county jail.”
Although both Jenner and Steindorff’s attorneys were asked for comments on the settlement, neither were particularly forthcoming with details. Steindorff’s lawyers could not readily be reached for comment and all Philip Boesch Jr., one of Jenner’s lawyers, would say was that the case had indeed been dismissed but would not comment further.
This past June, after Caitlyn Jenner was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs, Jessica Steindorff told Entertainment Tonight that she was outraged at the possibility that Jenner, after having been involved in the fatal car crash, could be given such an award.
“I find it difficult to understand how the culture we live in can honor a person who is responsible for taking a life and injuring several others with both an award and a reality show.”
Should Caitlyn Jenner have been charged with a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge for her role in the February 7 Malibu car crash that claimed the life of 69-year-old animal activist Kim Howe? Sound off in the comments below.
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Glamour]