A paparazzo going for a picture of Justin Bieber and his white Ferrari paid with his life late Tuesday when he was struck by oncoming traffic as he crossed a Los Angeles freeway. And as it turns out, Bieber wasn't even there.
The as-yet-unidentified photographer saw Bieber's white Ferrari pulled over near an off-ramp on a California interstate. When he went to take a photograph, police told him twice to return to his car which was parked on the other side of the highway.
Though California Highway Patrol officers had pulled over Bieber's sports car on New Year's Day, one of his friends was driving it and another friend was the only passenger.
Photo stalkers and other paparazzi are often on the lookout for any chance of a scoop on Bieber as pictures of the heartthrob pay especially well.
Though Bieber wasn't there, he made sure to try and offer some solace.
"While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim," he said. "Hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves."
In July, Bieber was the target of a high-speed chase in the same white Ferrari. As paparazzi sped after the young music star, they zipped by a Los Angeles city a councilman who is also a reservist for the L.A. Police Department.
"He was coming up behind me, making abrupt lane changes, not giving signals, cutting off cars," said Coincilman Dennis Zine who is pushing legislation on keeping the press at arm’s length of celebrities.
Another paparazzi target, singer Miley Cyrus, sounded off on Tuesday's fatal incident on Twitter, posting a series of tweets blaming the chaotic behavior of paparazzi for similar accidents and shaming them for putting the tragedy on Bieber's conscience. She even referenced Princess Diana's tragic death in a paparazzi car chase.
The Princess of Wales died in 1997 after a car accident in a road tunnel in Paris. Her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and the driver of the Mercedes were also killed. Although the media blamed chasing paparazzi, an inquest ultimately found the crash was caused by reckless actions of the chauffeur,
Paparazzi have been blames for scores of celebrity accidents. According to the Huffington Post, LeAnn Rimes accelerated into another vehicle while trying to escape photographers in 2009. January Jones crashed into two parked cars in June 2011 after being tailed by two paparazzi. Tori Spelling crashed into a wall of her children's school while attempting to avoid photographers that same month. Three months ago, Lindsay Lohan collided with a truck in order to lose tailing cameramen.
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