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Lexington woman charged in crash

A Lexington woman has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, first-degree wanton endangerment and driving under the influence in connection with a fiery crash that killed a passenger in her car last May.

Meredith L. Browning, 20, was the driver in the crash that killed Cierra James, 22.

Browning had a blood alcohol level of 0.02 at the time of the crash, Lexington police said in a complaint filed in Fayette District Court. Although that is less than the legal limit, Browning was under the legal drinking age.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Browning was driving a 2001 Volvo on Old Richmond Road May 27 when she lost control. Police said the car went off the right side of the road, hit a telephone pole and several trees, and crossed back into the road. The car stopped in the ditch line on the southbound side of the road and burst into flames, police said.

Browning pulled one of the two passengers out of the Volvo; another passenger was thrown from the vehicle.

James was pronounced dead at the scene. She died of multiple blunt force trauma, according to the Fayette County coroner's office.

Browning and the other passenger were taken to University of Kentucky Medical Center. All three occupants were wearing seat belts.

Browning waived formal arraignment Tuesday. Her next court appearance has been scheduled for March 29.

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