Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Brandy involved in fatal car crash


By Steve Gorman2 hours, 38 minutes ago

Actress and R&B singer Brandy was involved in a fatal, four-car accident on a Los Angeles freeway last month that started when her sports utility vehicle hit another car from behind, police said on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old former star of the TV comedy "Moesha" was not injured, but the driver of the car she rear-ended with her Land Rover in the December 30 crash died, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The victim was identified as Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, a married mother of one, said CHP spokesman Leland Tang.

No charges or arrests have been made in connection with the accident, and no formal determination has been made as to what caused the crash, which was first reported by the celebrity news Web site

But barring mechanical problems or other extenuating factors in such accidents, the driver of the car that rear-ends another is typically found to be at fault, Tang said.

He said the chain-reaction wreck started when Brandy's vehicle ran into the back of the car driven by Aboudihaj, whose car struck a third vehicle, then swerved into the freeway's center divider and was broad-sided by a fourth automobile.

A statement issued by Brandy's publicist said: "She wishes to publicly express her condolences to the family of the deceased" and asks the media to "respect the privacy of everyone involved at this time."

The singer-actress, whose full name is Brandy Norwood, was alone in her vehicle and no alcohol or drugs were involved, Tang said.

Brandy told officers she was driving at about 65 miles per hour before the crash occurred.

"We've impounded all four vehicles, and the outcome of the mechanical inspection is coming to us today or tomorrow," Tang said. "Barring any mechanical difficulties on Brandy's part, like a brake failure or a steering failure, then there's the very high probability that she is the party most at fault or the contributing party."

Brandy, a native of Missouri, burst on the recording scene with her self-tilted debut album in 1994, launching such hits as "I Wanna Be Down," "Baby" and "Brokenhearted." Her fourth album, "Afrodisiac," was released in 2004 with a lead single, "Talk About Our Love," produced by Kanye West.

Last year, she served on the panel of judges for NBC's summer show "America's Got Talent."