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Man charged in crash that killed 4

Published On: May 21 2012 07:25:16 PM CDT   Updated On: May 22 2012 01:30:28 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

An 18-year-old man charged in a crash that killed four people in February could spend life in prison.

Fitchburg police said Victor Benitez was behind the wheel of the vehicle that went airborne near Lacy Road and hit a utility pole on Feb. 18.

Three people died at the crash scene, and another passenger died at a hospital. Police said Benitez fled the scene and was caught nearby.

Benitez made his first court appearance Monday and was charged with 17 counts. Twelve of the charges are felonies and include homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle; vehicular homicide by use of a controlled substance; and failure to render aid, resulting in death.

According to court documents, alcohol and cocaine were found in Benitez's system after the crash. Prosecutors said Benitez was driving 60-70 mph when the car hit a bump in the road, went airborne and crashed.

Prosecutors requested $205,000 bail for Benitez at Monday's hearing.

The judge decided to set bail at $10,000 for each of the counts, making Benitez's total bail $170,000.

Benitez is also apparently facing federal immigration charges, which is likely the reason the hearing Monday was held up for three months. Benitez's attorney told the court the federal case begins on Wednesday.

For the vehicular homicide case, Benitez is due back in court for a preliminary hearing next week.  

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