By Debbie Gregory
On Monday afternoon, May 15, 2017, the Honorable John D. Wootten, Jr., of the Macon County Criminal Court, accepted a guilty plea by Mr. Michael Bentley to vehicular homicide by intoxication and financial responsibility, stemming from a 2016 one vehicle wreck he was involved in that resulted in the death of his passenger.
According to Assistant District Attorney General Javin Cripps, Mr. Bentley took a 10 year sentence, with a year to serve in jail day for day. “Mr. Bentley will then go on probation for the rest of the sentence,” said Assistant General Cripps. “He also lost his driver’s license for six years.”
As reported in the Macon County Chronicle on Saturday night, May 28, 2016, Michael Bentley, of Westmoreland, was driving a red 1995 Chevrolet pickup truck east on Green Valley Road and his passenger was Mr. Benjamin Dylan Harper, 25, of Lafayette.
According to crash investigator, THP Trooper Tracy Donoho, the passenger’s side tires traveled off the south side of the roadway and Mr. Bentley over corrected causing the vehicle to go into a yaw. The pickup then traveled off the north side of the roadway, struck a large tree on the passenger’s side, and came to rest in a creek bed at the bottom of a 25-foot-deep ravine.
Trooper Donoho said that Bentley crawled out of the ravine and made his way to a nearby residence to get help.
Mr. Bentley was transported for treatment and Mr. Harper was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Trooper Donoho was assisted at the wreck scene by Trooper Cody Ballard, THP Sgt. Billy Pierce, and CIRT Trooper Kyle Herren.
Mr. Bentley was later indicted by the Macon County Grand Jury and charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication.