Actress Lindsay Lohan is constantly making headlines, but not for her performances on the big and small screens. Although she burst on the scene as a teenage sensation and starred in a string of hits, in the past few years she’s more often thought of for substance abuse, legal troubles, and seriously questionable decision-making skills. For a while it seemed like Lohan was making daily appearances on the gossip pages and in the police blotter, and in 2011 she just barely avoided jail time due to a shoplifting charge. Instead she was placed on probation, and though her weak attempt at fulfilling her public service requirements were widely derided, it seemed like she had taken the near miss seriously and begun to straighten out her life. She was seen out on the town late at night with much less frequency, and even landed the starring role in a high profile Elizabeth Taylor biopic for Lifetime Television. Was Lohan poised to turn her life around?
With a disturbingly familiar chain of events late last week, we now know the answer to that question. Lohan was driving a rented car up the Pacific Coast Highway on her way to another day of filming. But somewhere on the Santa Monica, California stretch of the highway on Friday, she hit a truck. The accident was reported by TMZ and several more reputable news outlets. But the accident itself wasn’t the problem as much as what transpired after it. According to the driver of the truck, Lohan’s assistants tried to pay him off, and when they realized that wouldn’t work, then tried to get him to tell the authorities that it wasn’t Lohan who was driving. The whole thing fell apart, as the driver filed a truthful report, and the Santa Monica Police are now investigating the cause of the accident.
While a car accident on its own shouldn’t be a problem, how Lohan and her team handled it certainly is. Lohan told the police that her assistant was the one behind the wheel, and she was just the passenger. But the assistant apparently didn’t get the memo, and told the investigating officers that Lohan in fact was the one doing the driving. If it does end up that Lohan lied to the police, then she could be found guilty of impeding an official investigation. That’s a serious crime, and would put her in violation of the probation from her shoplifting trouble.
Although Lohan no longer had to report to a probation officer or appear in court anymore, she is still informally under probation for the next two years. When Judge Stephanie Sautner of the Los Angeles Superior Court relaxed the requirements of her probation back in March, she implored Lohan to bring a more mature mindset to her life and decisions. Clearly, lying to police officers will not fit the bill.
So what sort of trouble could Lohan be in for? The 25-year-old actress’ representatives and lawyers have not yet offered up a formal comment on the situation, so right now it is all speculation. But chances are the jail time that Lohan dodged could be brought back on the table, sending a message that even celebrities must take the court seriously. That means more time in front of the judge, but this time with a murkier outcome for Lohan.