STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) – Former Los Angeles Clippers player Rasual Butler and his wife, singer Leah LaBelle, were killed after their speeding Range Rover lost control on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City and crashed into the parking lot of a strip mall in the early morning hours Wednesday.
According to Los Angeles police, at around 2:30 a.m., an SUV carrying two people was traveling down the 11200 block of Ventura Boulevard when it lost control, hit three parking meters and a retaining wall and landed in the parking lot of a strip mall which contains several businesses, including a Marshalls.
Police responded and found a man and woman who were riding in the vehicle dead at the scene. No one else was hurt.
The L.A. County coroner’s office confirmed to CBS2 that one of the victims was the 38-year-old Butler. Several media reports identified the other victim as LaBelle, although the coroner’s office would not confirm that. It wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the wheel.
Butler played in the NBA for several years and LeBelle was a contestant on “American Idol.”
The Range Rover was traveling at least twice the 35 mile per hour speed limit, police said. At this time, there is no indication the vehicle was street racing.
Investigators are hoping that security video from businesses in the area will help them identify exactly what caused the crash. There was no immediate word if drugs or alcohol were suspected.
Ventura Boulevard was shut down in both directions for several hours. It was reopened at around 6 a.m.
Butler played 13 seasons in NBA from 2002 to 2015. He spent the 2010-11 season with the Clippers.
LaBelle was a contestant on the third season of “American Idol” in 2004.
The Los Angeles Clippers released the following statement: “The L.A. Clippers are deeply saddened by the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. Rasual will long be remembered not only for his accomplishments on the court, but for his vibrant personality, positive outlook and the compassion he had for everyone around him.”
Several NBA players and former teammates of Butler also took to Twitter to express their sadness at the news: