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Police Say They’ll Seek Charge Against Singer in Fatal Crash

January 13, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Police said they would seek manslaughter charges against singer Luther Vandross following a car accident that killed one man and injured Vandross and four other people.

According to police, Vandross’ 1985 Mercedes-Benz veered across the double yellow center line of a Hollywood Hills thoroughfare Sunday and collided with two other cars.

″He came zinging down the road and slid into an oncoming car and he was hit broadside,″ said police Officer Arnold Breitenbach.

Police planned to recommend that the district attorney file felony manslaughter charges against Vandross, said Sgt. Dennis Ruegsegger.

The dead man, whose name was withheld until his relatives could be notified, was a passenger in Vandross’ car, police said.

The 34-year-old rhythm and blues singer, who was nominated last week for a Grammy Award, was in fair condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with broken ribs and cuts on his face, said hospital spokesman Ron Wise.

Jimmy Salvemini, 15, also a passenger in the singer’s car, was in fair condition at Cedars-Sinai with cuts and possible internal injuries, Wise said.

Three other people were taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, said Breitenbach.

Ilona Lotourette, 64, of suburban Sherman Oaks, driver of one of the other cars, was reported in fair condition with a broken ankle, broken hand and cuts.

Joann Murphy, 54, of Sherman Oaks, driver of the third car, suffered a cut nose and was in good condition, while her passenger, Abraham Kostenboyn, 48, of West Hollywood, was in fair condition with two broken legs, Breitenbach said.

Vandross was nominated Thursday for a Grammy for best male rhythm and blues performance for ″The Night I Fell in Love.″

Last month, the singer filed a libel suit against a British magazine after it attributed his 85-pound weight loss to AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Vandross said he weighed 325 pounds when he started a diet last May.

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