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Passenger Dies in Crash of Car Driven by R&B Singer Vandross

January 13, 1986

A man was killed and five others were injured Sunday when a car driven by rhythm and blues singer Luther Vandross swerved out of control in the Hollywood Hills.

Vandross, 34, who was nominated for a Grammy award Thursday, was driving north on Laurel Canyon Boulevard about a mile south of Ventura Boulevard at 12:15 p.m. when the three-car crash occurred, Los Angeles police Sgt. Dennis Ruegsegger said.

Based on evidence of excessive speed, Ruegsegger said, police have filed a recommendation with the district attorney's office that Vandross, who suffered broken ribs and several cuts and bruises, be charged with felony manslaughter.

The accident occurred when Vandross' Mercedes-Benz crossed a double-yellow line, turned sideways and crashed into two southbound cars, Ruegsegger said. The dead man was a passenger in Vandross' car, police said. The Los Angeles County coroner's office was not immediately able to identify him.

Vandross was in fair condition Sunday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said. Also in fair condition at Cedars-Sinai were Jimmy Salvemini, 15, another passenger in Vandross' car; and Abraham Kostenboyn, 48, who had two broken legs.

Ilona La Tourette, 57, of Sherman Oaks, driver of one of the other cars, was in fair condition at St. Joseph with ankle and hand injuries, a spokeswoman said.

Also treated at St. Joseph was the driver of the third car, Joann Murphy, 54, of Sherman Oaks.

Vandross, who broke into the music business by singing commercials, was nominated for a Grammy as the top male rhythm and blues vocalist for 1985.

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