SANTA MARIA, Calif - 36-year-old Benjamin Bettencourt pleaded not guilty to felony gross vehicular manslaughter for allegedly driving drunk in a car crash near Buellton and Solvang, killing his passenger.
He was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter last month, after his passenger, 39-year-old Jenny Clark, a teacher from Los Olivos, passed away from her injuries.
He also faces a felony driving under the influence charge. Officials say he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Bettencourt was left a paraplegic after a car crash in 1998 that killed 18 year old Santa Ynez Valley High School student Leslie Alejo. At the time, investigators determined alcohol was not involved in the accident.
His next court date is scheduled for January 28th.
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:08 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:08:42 GMT
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