NEW: Caitlyn Jenner's lawyer cheers the decision, says "a traffic accident ... is not necessarily a criminal matter"
Jenner was driving an SUV that hit a car from behind, sending it into the path of oncoming traffic
Prosecutors say Jenner wasn't negligent in her driving; she still faces two civil lawsuits
Caitlyn Jenner won’t be charged for her role in a deadly four-car accident earlier this year in California, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
Prosecutors said in a charge evaluation worksheet that it couldn’t be proved that Jenner’s driving was negligent and they didn’t file a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge.
The decision was welcomed by Jenner and her legal team, who “believed from the start that a thorough and objective investigation would clear Caitlyn of any criminal wrongdoing,” lawyer Blair Berk said.
“We are heartened the district attorney has agreed that even a misdemeanor charge would be inappropriate,” Berk said. “A traffic accident, however devastating and heartbreaking when a life is lost, is not necessarily a criminal matter.”
Jenner was driving a black Cadillac SUV on February 7 that was the third vehicle involved in a multiple rear-end collision on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, police have said. Kimberly Howe, 69, was driving her Lexus when Jenner’s SUV hit her car from behind, sending it into oncoming traffic where it was hit by another SUV.
She died at the scene, police said.
An investigation found Jenner was driving slower than the speed limit and slightly slower than the victim’s car.
About four seconds before the accident, Howe hit her brakes and slowed down; Jenner lifted off the gas pedal of the SUV, which was towing a dune buggy. Jenner applied brakes for 1.5 to 1.9 seconds before the SUV hit the victim’s car.
“Based on facts, cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that suspect’s conduct was unreasonable,” an investigator wrote.
The 1976 Olympic decathlon champion released a statement after the accident: “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. 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.”
Two of Howe’s stepchildren and the driver of a Prius that allegedly stopped in front of Howe’s car and was hit by Jenner’s SUV are suing Jenner. The Prius driver, Jessica Steindorff, was cited for driving on a suspended license, Curry said.
CNN’s Stella Chan contributed to this report.