Singer Luther Vandross Hurt in Crash; Rider Dies

Times Staff Writer

Rhythm and blues singer Luther Vandross was hospitalized in fair condition Sunday with injuries suffered when his car swerved out of control, killing one passenger and injuring four others.

Vandross, 34, who was nominated for a Grammy Award last Thursday, was driving northbound on Laurel Canyon Boulevard about one mile south of Ventura Boulevard when the three-car crash occurred, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Dennis Ruegsegger.

Vandross’ 1985 Mercedes crossed the double yellow line, turned sideways and crashed into two southbound cars, Ruegsegger said. The dead passenger, identified as a 27-year-old man, was riding in his car, police said.

Ruegsegger said that based on evidence of excessive speed, police have filed a recommendation with the district attorney’s office that Vandross be charged with felony manslaughter.


The singer was treated for broken ribs and numerous cuts and bruises at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a spokesman said.

Also in fair condition at Cedars-Sinai was Jimmy Salvemini, 15, another passenger in Vandross’ car.

Ilona La Tourette, 57, of Sherman Oaks, driver of one of the two southbound cars, was in fair condition at St. Joseph Medical Center. Treated and released from St. Joseph were the driver of the third car, Joann Murphy, 54, of Sherman Oaks, and Abraham Kostenboyn, 48.