A Santa Maria judge sentenced Benjamin Bettencourt this week to five years in prison for a 2012 incident in which he drove under the influence and crashed his car, which killed passenger Jennifer Ann Clark. A jury found Bettencourt guilty of the charge in April.
On November 24, 2012, Bettencourt was driving with Clark on Highway 246 when he ran into a tree; a subsequent CHP investigation determined that his blood alcohol content was over the legal limit. Clark suffered severe head trauma and died in the hospital nine days later.
Speaking to Bettencourt’s sentence, prosecutor Kevin Duffy said, “We’re extremely pleased for the victim’s family that they have some closure. Although it won’t bring back their family member, there was justice served with the jury’s verdict and the judge’s sentence to prison.”