Authorities believe van the actress hit was making an illegal
A day after Lindsay Lohan was involved in a car crash in
West Hollywood, California, police said they don't believe
paparazzi were a factor in the accident.
Lohan's reps had said the actress was being pursued by photographers
at the time of the
incident, but authorities suspect the collision may have been
a result of a van making an illegal U-turn in front of the actress'
"Photographers were not involved, not at all," Lieutenant
Keith Swensson told the Los Angeles Times. The
official cause of the wreck has not yet been determined.
Lohan and a female passenger suffered minor injuries in the
incident and were taken to a hospital, as was the driver of
the van, who had moderate injuries.
The accident happened just a few blocks from the spot where
Lohan's car was rammed by a paparazzo earlier this year, an
incident that led to the photographer's arrest on suspicion
of assault with a deadly weapon. In light of that and
several other incidents involving stars and paparazzi,
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new state law that
cracks down on photographers who commit assault while
pursuing a subject. The law goes into effect on January 1.
Though two paparazzi were shooting photos of a distressed
Lohan and her seriously damaged car within seconds of the
accident, Swensson said authorities are considering whether
the driver of the van made an illegal U-turn. "The only
person who is likely to be cited in this case is the van
driver," said sheriff's department spokesperson Steve
Whitmore. "Lindsay Lohan is an innocent victim in all of
Lohan's publicist, Leslie Sloane Zelnick, issued a statement
Tuesday night calling the crash "another example of the
paparazzi endangering citizens, both Ms. Lohan and the other
driver involved in the collision," according to the
Investigators downplayed a paparazzi connection, but
witnesses said Lohan had been trailed by photographers
earlier in the day while she ate lunch and shopped and was
aware that she was being followed by a photographer in an
SUV just moments before the crash.
According to the Times, the van involved in the
accident was driven by Raymundo Ortega, an employee of the
Newsroom Café, who was trying to pull into a parking space
when he was struck by a fast-moving Lohan. The actress and
her passenger ran into a nearby antiques store immediately
after the wreck, while Ortega stumbled into the street and
was helped by fellow Café employees.
Ortega told "Access Hollywood" that Lohan — who, he said,
did not approach him to check on his condition — was not
being pursued by any cars when the accident happened.