A Lexington woman who was driving a car involved in a fiery crash that killed one of her passengers last year has been indicted by a Fayette County grand jury after police read her post on Facebook that said she drank alcohol before the wreck.
Meredith Lewis Browning, 21, was indicted Tuesday on a second-degree manslaughter charge in the death of passenger Cierra James, 22. Browning also was indicted on a charge of second-degree assault for allegedly causing serious physical injury to passenger Christina Lauren Fraley.
In addition to the manslaughter and assault charges, Browning was indicted on a misdemeanor charge for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol while at an age of less than 21. Browning, who was 20 at the time of the crash, had a blood alcohol level of 0.02 when her car ran off Old Richmond Road, according to court records. A level of 0.02 can bring a DUI conviction for someone under 21; an 0.08 reading is necessary for people 21 and older in Kentucky.
Browning, in an interview at a hospital after the crash, told police she had consumed one glass of wine before the wreck and that she had been driving about 90 mph, according to court records.
Authorities obtained a computer disk containing wall posts, pictures and messages from Browning's Facebook account after executing a search warrant several months after the crash.
The warrant was obtained after police found a posting on Kentucky.com saying Browning had made comments on her Facebook page that said she was consuming alcoholic beverages before the wreck, according to court records.
Browning lost control of her 2001 Volvo S40 as it crested a hill on Old Richmond Road about 2 a.m. on May 27, 2009.
The vehicle hit a telephone pole and two trees before landing in a ditch and bursting into flames, according to police. Browning pulled one of the two passengers out of the car; the other passenger was thrown from the vehicle. James was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities.
Arraignment for Browning has been scheduled for June 4 in Fayette Circuit Court.