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Madison jury continues hearing case of man charged in quadruple fatal crash


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A jury in Madison will begin its second day of deliberations to determine if a man is guilty of killing four of his friends in a car crash.

19-year-old Victor Benitez is being tried on 17 criminal charges for a one-vehicle crash in Fitchburg almost 13 months ago.

18-year-old Jose Cabrera-Hernandez and 17-year-old Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez, both of Madison, were killed along with 25-year-old Alan Dickson and 17-year-old Phankham Chitanavong, both of Rockford Illinois.

The defense points to a State Patrol reconstruction expert who could not determine the driver to a reasonable degree of certainty.

Assistant state attorney general Tara Jenswold said Benitez’s blood was found in a liner above the driver’s seat. She said it was Benitez who drove through two stop signs and sped up to 74 miles an hour before he crashed his vehicle at an intersection.

He walked away from the scene, but defense lawyer John Smerlinski said he was wandering off with a cognitive impairment after hurting his head.