Area woman indicted in fatal Jan. 2014 car crash

FRONT ROYAL – A Warren County grand jury Monday indicted Brooke Nicole Spindle on a charge of involuntary manslaughter arising from a fatal vehicle crash in January 2014.

Authorities say Spindle, 25, of Front Royal, was driving a pickup truck on Browntown Road when she lost control. The truck ran off the road and into a ditch, hit a tree and overturned. A passenger, Holly Anne Smedley, 25, also of Front Royal, died from her injuries hours later at Winchester Medical Center.

At a preliminary hearing in January, another passenger, Jason Richard Louderback, testified that he let Spindle take the wheel of his 2010 Ford F-350 pickup after repeated requests from her. Louderback also testified that he agreed to let Spindle drive after they had spent part of the day eating and drinking beer and shots of whiskey at a Front Royal restaurant and bar.

Authorities say they have tests showing that Spindle’s blood alcohol level was between .168 and .217 in the hours after the crash. The legal limit for blood alcohol level in Virginia is 0.08.

The case took more than a year from the time of the crash until the grand jury indictment. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton said in an interview Tuesday that the case was delayed for several months while the state crime laboratory processed evidence and a witness recovered from an illness during the summer and early fall.

“We had to wait for reports to come through and then we had issues with the witness,” Layton said.

Attorney John Bell is representing Spindle in the case. Her next court date is scheduled for March 2.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com