Brandy won't be charged in fatal crash

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Brandy will not face charges in a December 2006 car crash that killed a 38-year-old woman, prosecutors said on Friday, citing insufficient evidence.

Singer Brandy smiles at a news conference for a television show in Pasadena, California in this July 21, 2006 file photo. Los Angeles prosecutors announced on December 28, 2007 that they have decided to not file misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges against the singer stemming from a December 30, 2006 accident that left one woman dead. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Police had recommended that the former star of the TV comedy “Moesha,” whose real name is Brandy Norwood, face vehicular manslaughter charges in the four-vehicle crash, which began when her Land Rover struck another car from behind on a Los Angeles freeway.

“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,” Los Angeles City Attorney’s spokesman Frank Mateljan said.

Brandy, 28, had been facing up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if charged and convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the December 30, 2006, crash.

Relatives of Awatef Aboudihaj, who was killed in the crash, have filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Brandy. Aboudihaj was killed when her vehicle slammed into a third car, careened into the freeway’s center divider and was hit broadside by a fourth automobile.

Investigators ruled out alcohol and drugs as factors in the crash and say there was no evidence that Brandy, who was alone in her car, was using a cell phone or otherwise distracted.

A lawyer for Brandy said she was “extremely pleased” the performer would not be charged.

“These past twelve months have been extraordinarily hard for Brandy and her family, who were unfairly forced to live under a cloud of suspicion initially caused by an ill-advised and premature press release sent out by the California Highway Patrol accusing Brandy of wrongdoing before the police investigation was even finished,” attorney Blair Berk said.

Berk added Brandy was mindful there had been a life lost in the crash and that she was extremely fortunate not to have been injured.

Brandy burst on the recording scene in 1994 and won a Grammy in 1998 for her duet with singer Monica on the “The Boy is Mine.”

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney