LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) — Singer-actress Brandy was sued for $50 million Tuesday by the family of a woman killed in a four-car freeway crash which police have blamed on the 27-year-old performer.
The wrongful death lawsuit by the parents of Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court a day after police recommended that prosecutors charge Brandy with a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter.
The California Highway Patrol found that the entertainer, whose full name is Brandy Norwood, was at fault in the December 30 accident for failing to prevent her Land Rover from hitting the car in front of her when traffic suddenly slowed, CHP spokesman Leland Tang said this week.
Aboudihaj was killed when her vehicle slammed into a third car, careened into the freeway’s center divider and was hit broad-side by a fourth automobile, police said.
The lawsuit, filed as a three-page form complaint, says her death was caused by “reckless driving” by Brandy. It seeks $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Investigators have ruled out alcohol and drugs as factors in the crash and say there was no evidence that Brandy was using a cell phone or was otherwise distracted. She was in her car alone, Tang said.
Brandy’s spokeswoman, Kelly Mullens of the 42West agency, said in a statement “the accident was a terrible tragedy and Brandy’s heart goes out to Awatef Aboudihaj’s family. But for legal reasons we cannot comment on this lawsuit.”
The Highway Patrol referred the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for further review with the recommendation that the former star of the TV comedy “Moesha” be cited with a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter.
A misdemeanor offense carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.