A Springs man will spend 16 years behind bars for killing a plumber in a car crash last year.
Michael Benton faced a maximum sentence of 20 years, but instead received 16 years in prison and then five years on parole.
Benton was driving an SUV that crashed into a parked sedan and pushed it into two plumbers working along the 1400 block of North Nevada. One of those plumbers, Mark Michelle, was killed. The other plumber, Ken Baker, was injured.
A police report indicates Samantha Bowen originally told police she was behind the wheel and swerved to avoid a small black truck. Later, Bowen’s mother informed police that she had lied to protect Benton from going to jail.
Michelle's family spoke in court Monday, asking that Benton face the maximum penalty. Benton's family pleaded for the judge to take it into consideration that the crash was an accident.
The judge ruled that while it was an accident, Benton did not take responsibility for it initially and tried to cover it up. Those factors went into the judge's decision to hand down a 16-year sentence.
Prior to the crash in February 2012, police say Benton was listed as a habitual traffic offender.
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