Actress Charged in Boy’s Death


The Los Angeles city attorney has filed a misdemeanor manslaughter charge against actress Rebecca Gayheart, accusing the “Scream 2” and “Beverly Hills 90210” co-star of causing the traffic death of a 9-year-old boy who was walking home from school.

Gayheart was involved in a second accident, in Hollywood, on Monday night, according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman. The spokeswoman said that no one was injured and that no report was taken.

Back on June 13, Jorge Cruz Jr. was allegedly struck by a Jeep driven by Gayheart near the intersection of Bronson Avenue and Carlton Way. Although the boy was apparently jaywalking, other cars had stopped to allow him to cross the street. According to witnesses, Gayheart, at the wheel of a friend’s 1996 Cherokee, swerved around the cars and hit the boy. He died from his injuries the following day.


Harland Braun, attorney for the 28-year-old former Noxema model, said city prosecutors filed the charge late last week. The district attorney declined to file more serious felony charges after determining that drugs, alcohol and reckless driving were not factors, Braun added. “It’s a sad case,” the lawyer said. “It’s one of those things that could happen to anyone.”

Gayheart remained at the accident scene for five hours, paid for the boy’s medical and funeral expenses and remains traumatized, said Braun. The boy’s parents, Jorge Cruz and Silvia Martinez, sued Gayheart for negligence and wrongful death in August. She is due in court to face the criminal charge on Oct. 22. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a year in jail and faces substantial fines and loss of her driver’s license.

Foster Parent

It’s another boy for actress Jodie Foster. Son Kit weighed in at 6 pounds, 3 ounces, at a Los Angeles hospital on Saturday night. “I got the baby!” Foster told her publicist, Pat Kingsley, in a voicemail. Foster’s first son, Charles, was born in 1998. Just as she did when Charles was born, Foster’s keeping mum about the dad’s identity.

Kobe’s Woes

A Los Angeles construction contractor is trying to foreclose on Laker Kobe Bryant’s Pacific Palisades estate, claiming in court papers that Bryant owes $775,000 for a 12,641-square-foot addition that houses a gymnasium, media and therapy rooms and a three-car garage.

T. Voile Construction Co. accused Bryant and the K. Bean Bryant Trust of breaching its contract in a lawsuit filed in Santa Monica. The company, which says it also is owed $1.2 million in lost profit, wants the court to enforce a mechanic’s lien and allow it to purchase the property at foreclosure.

Bryant purchased the 8,200-square-foot main house for $2.5 million in 1999. It has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, a pool and an ocean view. He and his bride, Vanessa, last month backed out of buying a $13.5-million house in Orange County that featured a replica of a pirate ship and a lake stocked with fish.


Lawyers for the contractor had no comment, and a representative for Bryant could not be reached.

The Clinton Watch

While her father schmoozes his way through L.A., Chelsea Clinton is settling in at Oxford University, where she’s beginning a two-year master’s degree program in international relations.

Former President Bill Clinton, who attended Oxford as a Rhodes scholar in 1968-70 and famously did not inhale, helped his 21-year-old daughter move in before jetting here for a series of public appearances.

Chelsea Clinton, who told British reporters she wants to be treated as a normal Oxford student, graduated in June from Stanford University with a history degree.

Her father appeared Monday night at the Online Learning 2001 Conference and Expo in Century City, discussing the fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. On Tuesday night, he was to receive an award from the American Oceans Campaign and its founding president, actor Ted Danson.

Zoom, Zoom

First rehab, now driving school? Actor Ben Affleck was clocked driving--or should we say flying?--a black Cadillac at 114 mph on a Georgia interstate over the weekend. Contrary to reports, Affleck was not arrested, his publicist insisted. Affleck, with brother Casey riding shotgun, was stopped on I-16, which connects the cities of Macon and Savannah and has a 70-mph speed limit. The “Pearl Harbor” star paid a $1,114 fine and was on his way in 20 minutes. The Georgia state trooper who stopped Affleck didn’t recognize him.


Misjudging Amy

Actor Richard T. Jones, who plays a family court investigator on television’s “Judging Amy,” is suing 20th Century Fox Television to get out of his contract. Jones claims he was given the option to be written out of the series if he was not happy, according to his L.A. Superior Court suit.

Jones is, indeed, unhappy. According to court papers, his character, Bruce Van Exel, has not been developed and working conditions on the set are intolerable. When he asked to be written out, Jones alleges, the producers retaliated by “spreading false and defamatory accusations and rumors” about him. Lawyer Marty Singer is asking the court to release Jones from his contract. Fox does not comment on pending lawsuits.


Times staff writers Louise Roug and Gina Piccalo contributed to this column. City of Angles runs Tuesday-Friday. E-mail: