INDIANAPOLIS -- A request has been denied for a Fillmore woman serving a prison sentence for reckless homicide and welfare fraud to be released into a community transition program.
Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley sentenced Tonya M. Benassi, 36, in December to two-and-a-half years in prison for her part in a car accident in October 2007 that killed Benassi's husband Tracy, 34. She was given a nine-month concurrent sentence for felony welfare fraud.
In February, Benassi was determined to be eligible for release into a community transition program. After a review of Benassi's case by Putnam County Community Corrections, a recommendation was filed with the court. Headley denied the request on Tuesday.
Had Benassi been approved for the program, she would have still technically been a DOC inmate, but she would have been on electronic home monitoring on work release.
Benassi was arrested in December 2007. She had served nearly a year in the Putnam County jail when she was sentenced. She has been serving her prison sentence at the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis. The Indiana Department of Corrections Web site lists Benassi's earliest possible release date as July 21.
When she is released from prison, Benassi will spend 18 months on probation.
According to police reports, Benassi and her husband Tracy were driving their mid-1990s Chevrolet Camaro on C.R. 75N (Right-of-Way Road) near Fillmore on Oct. 12, 2007 when the vehicle left the roadway, the result of an argument between the couple, and landed on the railroad tracks below.
Both of the Benassis were airlifted to the hospital following the accident. Tracy, 34, died the next day at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.