No Criminal Charge for Brandy over Fatal Car Crash
The R&B singer still faces four wrongful-death lawsuits for the traffic accident
R&B singer Brandy will not be charged with a crime for a fatal car crash last year, authorities said Friday.
“The City Attorney’s Office has decided not to file misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges against Brandy Norwood in the case stemming from a Dec. 30, 2006, traffic collision,” that office’s spokesman Frank Mateljan said in a statement.
“After conducting a thorough investigation, which included consulting with some of the top accident reconstruction experts in the country, City prosecutors concluded that there was insufficient evidence from which a jury could find Ms. Norwood guilty of such a charge beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
The case had been under review by prosecutors for nearly a year.
Brandy’s attorney Blair Berk also issued a statement on Friday. It said, in part: “We are extremely pleased that after a more thorough and extensive investigation by authorities … Brandy Norwood should not be charged with any crime whatsoever relating to the accident back in 2006.”
The statement added: “These past 12 months have posed an extraordinary hardship for Brandy and her family, who have been unfairly forced to live under a cloud of suspicion initially caused by the ill-advised and premature press release sent out by the California Highway Patrol accusing Brandy of wrongdoing before the police investigation was even finished.”
She concluded, “Brandy continues to be mindful that she was so fortunate to be uninjured in this accident and there was a life lost that should be remembered.”
On Dec. 30, 2006, Brandy rear-ended a 2005 Toyota Corolla while traveling on an L.A. freeway, setting off a chain-reaction crash that involved two other cars.
The driver of the Toyota, Awatef Aboudihaj, a 38-year-old mother of two, died the following day from injuries she had sustained.
Police said the singer, 28, was not distracted or under the influence at the time of the accident.
Investigators initially recommended a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, which carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.
Brandy still faces four wrongful-death lawsuits filed on behalf of Aboudihaj’s parents, her widower, her two children and another victim of the crash, Mallory Ham.
A civil trial date is set for Jan. 28.