UPDATE: Teen gets 32 years for crash that killed 4

UPDATED Wednesday, July 10, 2013 --- 8:27 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The sole survivor of a one-car crash that killed four of his friends has been sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Dane County Circuit Judge William Hanrahan told 19-year-old Victor Benitez, of Madison, Wednesday he had made "a series of outrageously bad decisions." The Wisconsin State Journal reports the judge cited Benitez's use of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine before last year's crash in Fitchburg.

Benitez was convicted in March of four counts of homicide by drunken driving, four counts of homicide by driving under a controlled substance, four counts of driving without a valid license causing death, and one count of obstructing police.

Assistant Attorney General Tara Jenswold said Benitez is a thrill-seeker and feels no remorse.

But Benitez said he's still a young man who's learning from his mistakes.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Wednesday, July 10, 2013 --- 4:49 p.m.

MADISON, Wis.-- The man who killed four people in a 2012 crash is sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Victor Benitez, 19, was sentenced Wednesday in a Dane County court. After the prison sentence Benitez will have to serve 20 years of extended supervision.

In March Benitez was convicted 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.

Alan Dickson, 25, Jose Cabrera-Hernandez, 18, Phankham E. Chitanavong, 17, and Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez,17, all died the car crash.

The investigation found Benitez was driving his car at more than 74 miles per hour when drove through a stop sign. The car went airborne and slammed into a utility pole near Lacy and Syene Roads in Fitchburg.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 12, 2013 --- 12:58 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Dane County jury has convicted a Madison man on several counts in an impaired driving crash that killed four people.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old Victor Benitez was drunk and high on drugs when he crashed a car into a utility pole in Fitchburg in February 2012. A criminal complaint says Benitez walked away from the scene as police tended to the passengers. Three people died at the scene, another died at a hospital.

The jury found him guilty Tuesday on eight homicide charges, obstructing an officer, and driving without a license. He was found not guilty of failure to fulfill legal obligations in a crash.

The jury began deliberating Monday.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 12, 2013 --- 11:28 a.m.

From our news partner WIBA:

Victor Benitez found guilty on eight homicide charges

At the Dane County courthouse today, a jury has found Victor Benitez guilty of a fatal crash from 2012.

The jury agreed that he was the driver in that wreck that killed four people (three on scene).

He was also found guilty of obstructing an officer.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 12, 2013 --- 10:46 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A jury is deliberating in the Dane County trial of a man accused of killing four people in an impaired driving crash.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old Victor Benitez was drunk and high on drugs when he crashed a car into a utility pole in Fitchburg in February 2012. A criminal complaint says Benitez walked away from the scene as police tended to the passengers. Three people died at the scene, another died at a hospital.

Benitez is charged with 17 counts, including 12 felonies. The jury began deliberating Monday.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 22, 2012 --- 7:40 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Madison teenager is charged in a crash that killed four passengers in his car.

Eighteen-year-old Victor Benitez is facing four counts of homicide by intoxicated driving. Prosecutors say Benitez had alcohol and marijuana in his system and was driving at a high rate of speed when he crashed his car in Fitchburg last February. Benitez is also charged with eight other counts, including failure to render aid at the scene of the crash.

A criminal complaint says Benitez walked away from the scene as police tended to the passengers. Benitez is being held on $170,000 bond and an immigration detainer. His preliminary hearing is May 29.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, May 21, 2012 --- 4:05 p.m.

New information about a deadly crash that occurred in Fitchburg on February 18.

The driver, 18-year-old Victor Benitez, is facing 17 charges.

He appeared in a Dane County Courtroom this afternoon.

Four people died in the crash, including two teens from Madison. They are identified as 18-year-old Jose Antonio Cabrera-Hernandez, 17-year-old Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez, 17-year-old Phankham Chitanavong and 25-year-old Alan Michael Dickson.

Charges include Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle, Homicide by Vehicle-Use of Controlled Substance in Blood, and Failure to Render Aid-Resulting in Death.

Investigators say Benitez was driving drunk when he sped through a stop sign, hit a bump in the road, became airborne and hit a utility pole.

To read the criminal complaint, click on the link ABOVE marked "Click HERE To Read Criminal Complaint."

According to the criminal complaint, a witness told police that Benitez walked away from the crash scene. A Fitchburg firefighter found him "kinda of running through the woods." When the firefighter approached him, Benitez stated "I was going home."

The criminal complaint also indicates when Benitez returned to the crash scene, he denied being in the crash.

Excerpt from complaint:
Officer Shulfer reports [Fitchburg Firefighter Adam] Thimmig stated he walked back to the crash scene with Firefighter [Nicholas] Mittelstedt and the defendant. Officer Shulfer reports Thimmig stated while walking back to the crash scene the defendant's stories changed intermittently from him acknowledging he was in a crash to him knowing nothing about a crash occurring. Officer Shulfer reports Thimmig stated the defendant would say, "Oh my God, there's a crash; did something happen?" and then proceed to say, "Is my cousin in the car?" Officer Shulfer reports Thimmig stated the defendant became more anxious as he got closer to the crash scene and saw police cars. Officer Shulfer reports Thimmig stated the defendant pulled his hood over his head when he approached the crash. Officer Shulfer reports Thimmig stated he could smell the odor of alcohol coming from the defendant within four to five feet ahead of him.

The criminal complaint also indicates Benitez denied being the driver while questioned at the hospital.

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UPDATED Friday, February 24, 2012 --- 7:25 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The driver of a car that crashed in southern Wisconsin last week and killed four people, including two from Illinois, has been transferred from the hospital to jail.

The 18-year-old Madison man is the sole survivor of Saturday's crash in Fitchburg. Investigators believe the teen was driving drunk when he sped through a stop sign, hit a bump in the road, became airborne and hit a utility pole.

The crash killed 18-year-old Jose Antonio Cabrera-Hernandez and 17-year-old Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez, both of Madison, as well as 17-year-old Phankham Chitanavong and 25-year-old Alan Michael Dickson, both of Rockford, Ill.

The State Journal (http://bit.ly/wG6PIC ) says the driver is jailed in Dane County on a probation hold and has not been charged in the crash.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, February 20, 2012 --- 11:10 a.m.

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) -- Dane County authorities investigating an apparent drunken-driving crash that killed four people say two victims were from Wisconsin, and the other two were from Illinois.

The medical examiner's office said Monday the Wisconsin victims were 18-year-old Jose Antonio Cabrera-Hernandez and 17-year-old Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez, both of Madison. The victims from Illinois were 17-year-old Phankham Chitanavong and 25-year-old Alan Michael Dickson, both of Rockford.

The crash happened Saturday just after 5 p.m. Police say a van sped through a stop sign in Fitchburg, hit railroad tracks and a utility pole and rolled.

The driver was an 18-year-old Madison man. Police say he fled and was arrested a few blocks away. He's being held on four tentative charges of homicide by drunken driving.

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UPDATED Monday, February 20, 2012 --- 10:05 a.m.

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office is releasing the names of the four men killed in the traffic crash in the City of Fitchburg on 02-18-12.

The crash occurred in the 5000 block of Lacey Road, shortly after 5:00PM.

Phankham Chitanavong
17
Rockford, IL

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Alan Michael Dickson
25
Rockford, IL

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Jose Antonio Cabrera-Hernandez
18
Madison, WI

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Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez
17
Madison, WI

Forensic autopsies were completed on Sunday 02-19-12 at the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office. All four of the men died from the traumatic injuries they received in the traffic crash on Saturday.

This case remains under investigation by the Fitchburg Police Department and the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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UPDATED Monday, February 20, 2012 --- 7:00 a.m.

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) -- Police investigating an apparent drunken-driving crash in Fitchburg that killed three passengers say a fourth person has now died.

The crash happened Saturday just after 5 p.m. Police say a van sped through a stop sign, hit railroad tracks and a utility pole and rolled.

Four people were ejected, none of whom was wearing a seatbelt. Three people died at the scene, and a fourth was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition. That person died Sunday.

The driver was an 18-year-old Madison man. Police say he fled and was arrested a few blocks away. He's being held on four tentative charges of homicide by drunken driving.

A police sergeant says all five people were young adult males.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Sunday, February 19, 2012 --- 7:21 p.m.

UPDATE from Fitchburg Police:

On 02/19/2012 the fourth victim in the crash died at a local hospital. Autopsies were conducted on all four victims today. The Medical Examiner’s Office plans on releasing their names on 02/20/2012.

Arrested: Victor H Benitez, age 18 of Madison, WI. Tentatively charge with four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.

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UPDATED Sunday, February 19, 2012 --- 1:32 p.m.

Fitchburg, Wis. (AP) -- A driver has been arrested on tentative charges of homicide by drunken driving after a rollover crash in Fitchburg that killed three people and left a fourth critically injured.

Fitchburg police say early Sunday that more charges are expected.

Police Sgt. Don Bomkamp says the crash occurred about 5 p.m. Saturday. All five people in the car were men in their late teens or early 20s. Their names were not released.

The car was eastbound on Lacy Road when it went through a stop sign, hit railroad tracks and a utility pole, then rolled.

No one was wearing a seat belt. Four people were ejected -- three died at the scene. The driver fled and was arrested a few blocks away.

Police say speed and alcohol were factors.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATE: Sunday, February 19, 2012 -- 2:13 a.m.

Information from Fitchburg Police:

The man who crashed a car into a utility pole in Fitchburg, killing three people and critically injuring another, has been arrested for three counts of homicide by intoxication use of a motor vehicle.

More charges are expected.

Police say the driver was the only person not ejected from the vehicle and after the crash police say he fled the scene and was later apprehended a few blocks away. He was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

None of the names of those involved in the crash are being released at this time.

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UPDATE: Saturday, February 18, 2012 -- 6:35p.m.

Information from Fitchburg Police:

Five people, all adults, were in the vehicle. Four of them were ejected.

Three people were confirmed dead on the scene. One was taken by med flight to the hospital. Another person was taken by an ambulance to a hospital.

Speed and alcohol appear to be factors in the crash. No one was wearing a seat belt.

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UPDATE: Saturday, February 18, 2012 --- 5:42p.m.

NBC15 Photojournalist Brady Headington is on the scene and says med flight has arrived. He's seen emergency crews working on at least one victim.

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Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 --- 5:17p.m.

Information from Dane County Dispatch:

A little after 5pm Saturday, crews responded to a crash in the 5100 block of Lacy Rd. near Blaney Rd. in Fitchburg.

Dispatch says it appears a van hit a pole. There are reports of several injuries.

We have crew on the scene and will have more information as it becomes available.


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