A 19-year-old Madison man has been sentenced to 32 years in prison in connection with a crash that killed four people last year. A judge on Wednesday afternoon also said Victor Benitez will serve 20 years of extended supervision.
Prosecutors said Benitez was under the influence at the time of the accident.
Family members of the victims asked for a lengthy sentence while the defense asked for leniency because of Benitez’s age.
“You can never erase that those boys, your friends, your cousins are gone because of a mistake you made,” said Donna Ridge who’s son was killed in the crash.
He was charged with 17 counts in connection with a crash in the city of Fitchburg.
A jury found Benitez, guilty 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.
Fitchburg police said Benitez was behind the wheel of the vehicle that went airborne near Lacy Road and hit a utility pole on Feb. 18. Police said Benitez was drunk, high on drugs and fled from the scene after the crash. He was found by firefighters a short time later.
Three people died at the crash scene, and another passenger died at a hospital.
During his time behind bars, Benitez has earned his GED.
The judge said the sentence he’s imposing will give him more time to make significant changes in his life. The judge said he needs to figure out reasons he’s the only survivor of the crash.
“You are responsible for so much hurt and so much harm, the deaths of your friends; it’s your obligation going forward to make your life count. You’re not just living one life now. You must live for five,” said Judge William Hanrahan.
The judge said restitution would be determined at a later date.
Benitez’s lawyer told the court because he’s not a U.S. citizen, Benitez could also face deportation.