Gwinnett County police confirmed Saturday that Atlanta R&B singer Natina Reed of the female group Blaque was killed late Friday after being struck by a car just north of Lilburn, but authorities ruled out a hit-and-run, contrary to earlier online reports.
“As of right now, it does not appear that the driver has any fault in this event,” said police spokesman Sgt. Rich Long, who added that it was the driver who contacted police about the accident. The driver, who was not immediately identified, was not expected to be charged, the spokesman said.
Initial unconfirmed reports on MTV.com and Vibe.com and in multiple Twitter postings said Reed, a 32-year-old protégé of the late TLC singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, was struck while crossing a street in a hit-and-run accident. She would have celebrated her 33rd birthday Sunday.
After the initial reports, Long told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he couldn’t confirm the identity of the victim at the time but said police received a call around 10:30 p.m. Friday that a woman had been struck by a red Honda Accord on Lawrenceville Highway (U.S. 29) near Hamilton Road, just north of Lilburn.
Long said investigators were still trying to determine why Reed was in the roadway and whether she was crossing or walking alongside it. The spokesman said CPR was performed at the scene and Reed was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 10:59 p.m.
Long said other than the driver and a passenger in the car, there did not appear to be any additional witnesses. The spokesman said the investigation was continuing and that more information would be released as facts become available.
Reed’s fellow Blaque members reacted to her death in tweets Saturday. Shamari Fears-DeVoe tweeted, “My world as I know it has forever changed. Until we meet again, may you find comfort in the arms of an angel. I love you Natina.”
Brandi Williams, another member, tweeted, “Last night the world was changed forever, life will never be the same….she was my sister.” The group also has included singer Erica Pullins.
Later in a joint statement, Fears-DeVoe and Williams said Blaque had reunited and was in the process of working on a new album and a reality show.
“Natina continuously embodied the pioneering spirit of Blaque and her undeniable creativity touched the hearts of fans everywhere. Natina was a mother, sister, accomplished songwriter, artist and friend,” the statement said.
Multiple messages were posted on Twitter expressing condolences, including those from Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons and V103 personality Egypt Sherrod.
Billboard named Blaque as the 4th Best New Artist in 1999. Lopes signed Blaque, whose hits included “808” and “Bring It All to Me”, to her Left Eye Productions label. Lopes was killed in 2002 in a car crash in La Ceiba, Honduras.
Reed also starred in the 2000 cheerleading movie “Bring It On” with Williams and Shamari-DeVoe. The New York City native is survived by a 10-year-old son, Tren Brown, from a relationship with rapper Kurupt.