Pop Culture

Paparazzi ruled out in Lindsay Lohan crash

Lindsay Lohan, whose car crash in May led to a state law aimed at reining in celebrity photographers, has crashed again, this time after witnesses said she was swarmed by paparazzi.

Lindsay and a female passenger suffered minor injuries Tuesday after the actress' Mercedes-Benz convertible collided with a van.

Lindsay was spending her day having lunch at the Ivy restaurant and shopping on Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills. She also spent part of the day dodging the paparazzi.

Witnesses said Lindsay had been shopping at a clothing store when she was confronted, and that dozens of photographers had been following her before the crash.

"There were about 30 photographers outside covering the store; the poor girl just was shopping and they were just like hounding her," said Lori Satzberg, 43.

"She got into her black Mercedes across the street and they literally were like sitting on her car, trying to take pictures of her, she was like yelling at them to get off," said Satzberg, who was shopping with her 13-year-old daughter.

However, on Wednesday, the sheriff's department released a statement saying that paparazzi were, in fact, not a factor in the accident.

"Preliminary investigations have revealed that paparazzi were not a factor in the traffic collision, and the matter is being handled as a traffic collision only," the statement said.

In addition, Access Hollywood spoke to the man who was driving the other vehicle involved.

Raymundo Ortega told Access' Lizza Monet Morales that he was looking for a parking place on his way to work as a busboy at the Newsroom Cafe when his van was struck by Lindsay's black Mercedes.

The impact caused his van to collide with a white parked van.

"I didn't know it was her, I didn’t recognize her," Ortega said. "All I knew was that she was driving really fast. I mean, she had to be going at least 75 miles an hour. All she needed was wings for the car to fly."

"I imagine if I had hit someone, I am going to ask them right away if the other person is OK. But she did not do that with me," Ortega said.

"There was just this gigantic, huge explosive sound like a bomb going off," eyewitness Katherine Starr told Access. "You could actually hear the airbags exploding, and then in that split second … Lindsay Lohan obviously, ran into the Hideaway antiques store."

Paramedics arrived at Hideaway House antiques and checked Lindsay’s vital signs. While in the store, Lindsay was bleeding, and stained a $5200 French walnut chair. According to Javier Ramirez, who works in the store, Lindsey was extremely shaken up.

"She was very upset," said Ramirez. "She kept saying, 'Oh my God, oh my God, I can't believe it.'"

Lindsay and the female passenger in her car were taken to nearby Cedars Sinai for examination.

Ortega was also taken by ambulance to Cedars, where x-rays were taken. He was released with what he says is a sore neck.

Both cars were towed and according to police, there was no evidence alcohol was involved in the crash.

Another eyewitness told Access, "I think that maybe the paparazzi caused this because she was speeding, trying to run away from all the pictures."

According to eyewitnesses, Lindsay was followed by paparazzi all afternoon, but this is nothing new for Lindsay. Back in May, she was involved in a traffic accident with her same car, avoiding a photographer.

That crash was credited with prompting passage of a measure Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law on Friday calling for steep financial penalties for paparazzi who commit assaults in their efforts to obtain celebrity photos.

The new law allows victims of paparazzi assaults to file lawsuits seeking up to three times the damages they suffered. The law goes into effect Jan. 1.

Shortly after that first accident, Lindsay spoke to our Billy Bush about it.

"I understand that that's their job and it's always gonna be there to an extent, but when you're running someone off the road, that's a little bit much," she said.

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