Gender-bending Bruce Jenner blamed the paparazzi Saturday for a horrific California three-car pileup that left one person dead and seven more injured,according to TMZ.com.
The deadly wreck occurred on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu around noon, with one-time Olympic gold medalist Jenner luckily able to walk away from the carnage, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Matt Dunn.
Jenner, 65, who is reportedly transitioning from a man to a woman, told police that he was fleeing five pursuing paparazzi when his Cadillac Escalade rear-ended a white Lexus, sources in his family told TMZ.
A witness told USA Today that photographers stood snapping photos of the shaken Jenner in the minutes after the harrowing fatal accident.
“It happened so fast,” said Veronica Bermudez, an employee at the nearby Malibu Roadhouse who echoed Jenner’s charge about the chase by the celebrity shutterbugs.
“They (paparazzi) were here right away,” she told the newspaper. “How could they have gotten here that fast otherwise? I don’t know why they have to follow him, and not just leave him alone.”
Photos posted on TMZ.com captured the actual moment of impact when Jenner’s black SUV slammed into the rear of the Lexus.
Other photos on TMZ.com showed Jenner standing near the wreckage of the white car — its front end caved in, its trunk twisted and popped open, and its windshield shattered.
The front driver’s side of the Humvee also suffered significant damage.
A source told E! News that among the survivors was a woman spotted carrying a baby after the crash on a stretch of highway overlooking the ocean.
Jenner was photographed with his hair in a long ponytail, wearing a light blue long-sleeve shirt, a baseball cap and sunglasses. He passed a field sobriety test at the scene of the fatal wreck, according to TMZ.com.
The reality show favorite was treated as a precaution by an ambulance at the scene. Jenner was reportedly at the wheel of the Escalade when the crash occurred.
Jenner’s publicist Alan Nierob, without providing any details about the wreck or his client, confirmed that the former world-class athlete was uninjured.
Cops shut down the typically busy highway in both directions in the aftermath of the wreck. A rescue helicopter was spotted near the crash site, apparently to ferry one victim to the hospital.
“We have deputies on the scene, working a fatal traffic collision at PCH and Corral Canyon Road,” a source at LAPD told the Daily News. “It happened at 12:12 p.m. There were three vehicles involved.”
Cops could not confirm the names of anyone but Jenner, and the official details remained sketchy.
His mother confirmed Jenner’s gender-switch in an interview, and her son was recently spotted sporting long, flowing locks, diamond stud earrings, manicured nails and lipstick.
People magazine also reported on the sex change, quoting a source as saying “he’s in such a great space. He has come out to those closest to him.”
Jenner was married for 22 years to wife Kris, the matriarch of the Kardashian clan, and became famous again via the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
The couple split up in December.
His marriage to Kris was Jenner’s third, and he is the father of six — and stepdad to the three Kardashian sisters and their brother, Rob.
A spokesman for Kim Kardashian did not immediately return a call for comment on the lethal collision.
The Jenner vehicle was towing a UTV, an off-road racing vehicle, at the time of the crash.
Just three months ago, he survived a wreck in the annual Baja 10000 off-road race, crashing a $500,000 truck. Neither Bruce nor his racing pal, son Burt, were injured in the crash.
Jenner became a national hero and role model in the bicentennial summer of 1976, landing on the front of Wheaties boxes after winning the decathlon at the Summer Games in Montreal.
But earlier this week, Jenner’s mom said she was happier for her son over his decision to become a woman that she was when he won the gold medal.
“If he can help other people with emotional problems, than it will all be worth it,” said 88-year-old Esther Jenner to RadarOnline.com. “I’ve never been more proud of Bruce for who he is, himself as a father, as an Olympian, a wonderful public speaker.
Jenner’s change will be documented by E!, the same network that runs the Kardashian show.