Carrollton Family Seeking Justice in Daughter's Death


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 13 at 6:10 PM

(WHAS11) - A Carrollton family says they want justice a year after a motorcycle wreck killed 25-year-old Brandie Chadwell and her unborn child. The man driving the motorcycle was in court Wednesday on separate drug charges. The family says he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, but he isn't facing punishment for it.

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Bernard "Kalep" King, 25, is facing charges of driving without a license and driving without insurance, after he crashed his motorcycle on the Watterson expressway last July. But those are the only charges he's facing in this case even though a drug test at the hospital came up positive for drugs, and his passenger was killed in the crash.

Maggie Briley says this system has failed her daughter. Brandie Chadwell was six months pregnant when the motorcycle she was riding on crashed July 2, 2007. Kalep King was in court Wednesday on drug charges he was arrested for just 10 days before the wreck.

"For my daughter's accident? [He was charged with] Motorcycle license and no insurance. Period," says Maggie Briley, Chadwell's mother. "We were told that there were drug tests done, that he did have four drugs in his system, but because of mistakes made by the Shively police department, it wasn't going to be admissible in court."

In fact, a letter from the Shively police department to the family says drugs were found in a hospital drug test, but the "investigating police officer failed to obtain a blood sample." They say because of these "mistakes made by the police department," they are conducting an ongoing investigation. The police department declined to comment on the case. The Commonwealth Attorney's office says they have reviewed this case. But they say there simply isn't enough evidence without those blood tests, to present the case to a grand jury.

"We have positive tests for all these things in his system, but we have no levels," says Jessica Spenneberg, Chadwell's sister. "So they're telling us this is not going to hold up in court and it's not enough to charge him with a felony."

King has a criminal record dating back to 2001 that includes multiple violations for cocaine use and parole violations. He's also been charged with being a persistent felony offender.

He's spent some time in jail, but right now, he's free. He declined to talk to WHAS11 News Wednesday. Brandie Chadwell's family says he should be behind bars, facing murder charges instead.

"There is no justice for my daughter and grand-daughter," says Briley. "And he gets to walk free. I don't understand it."

King is scheduled to be back in court September 29th on the charges of driving without a license and driving without insurance. If found guilty, he faces a fine for not having a license and up to a year in prison for failure to maintain insurance. Depending on that outcome, the case could be closed for good, because he couldn't be charged with anything having to do with the wreck again because of double jeopardy.