A 19-year-old Madison man will spend 32 years behind bars and 20 years on extended supervision after he was convicted of causing a crash that killed his four passengers.
Prosecutors say Victor Benitez was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, when he crashed, killing Alan Dickson, 25, Jose Cabrera-Hernandez, 18, Phankham E. Chitanavong, 17, and Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez, 17.
An investigation into the crash revealed that Benitez was traveling more than 74 miles per hour when he failed to stop at a stop sign. The vehicle became airborne, lost control, and slammed into a utility pole near the intersection of Lacy and Syene Roads in Fitchburg.
All four of the deceased were ejected from the car, while Benitez remained in the car after impact. The first officer on the scene saw Benitez in the driver’s seat area of the car before Benitez crawled out and walked away from the scene. While Benitez maintained that he was not the driver, the collective evidence presented at trial, including DNA testimony from the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, as well as testimony from the Dane County Medical Examiner and crash reconstructionists from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin State Patrol’s Technical Reconstruction Unit, established that he was, in fact, behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
In March, a jury found Benitez guilty of four counts of Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Motor Vehicle, four counts of Homicide by Use of a Motor Vehicle While Having a Detectable Amount of a Restricted Controlled Substance in the Blood, four counts of Operating a Motor Vehicle Without a Valid Operator’s License, and one count of Obstructing an Officer.
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