Mechanical factors were ruled out as contributing to the fatal freeway crash last month involving actress-singer Brandy, who triggered the accident when her vehicle rammed into the car in front of hers, police said Thursday.
But it's unclear whether the 27-year-old former performer, whose full name is Brandy Norwood, will be found to be primarily at fault or criminally negligent in the Dec. 30 crash, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Leland Tang.
A motorist, Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, a married mother of one, was killed after Brandy’s Land Rover struck her from behind. The former star of the television comedy “Moesha” was not hurt.
Aboudihaj’s car was forced into another car in front of hers before swerving into the freeway’s center divider. She was broadsided by a fourth automobile.
A big question remaining for investigators is what caused Aboudihaj’s vehicle to careen across four lanes of traffic, turning what otherwise might have been a relatively minor crash into a fatal one, Tang said.
An inspection of all four vehicles found no mechanical defects, he said.
“We know the person who started the chain reaction was obviously Brandy Norwood,” Tang said.
Tang said investigators would spend the next day or two sifting through evidence from the scene and conducting further interviews before turning the case over to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for review.
Tang said Brandy has been “fantastically cooperative” with police.
Alcohol and drugs have been ruled out as factors in the crash, and there is no evidence that Brandy was using a cell phone or was otherwise distracted at the time of the crash. She was in her car alone, Tang said.
The celebrity Web site TMZ.com, which broke the news of the crash on Wednesday, quoted one eyewitness as saying the pop star was visibly distraught at the accident scene and “kept saying how she hit the lady.”