Woman arrested for crash

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Putnam County woman whose husband died following a car accident in Marion Township in October has been arrested and charged with allegedly causing the crash.

Tonya M. Benassi, 34, Fillmore, was taken into police custody Wednesday night on charges of reckless homicide and criminal recklessness. Both are class C felonies.

Investigators say Benassi drove her late 1990s Chevrolet Camaro at almost 100 mph on CR 75 North (Right-of-Way Road) before it crashed at the intersection with CR 400 East. According to witness reports, the vehicle became airborne and landed on a set of railroad tracks.

The Oct. 12 crash severely injured Benassi and her husband, 34-year-old Tracy L. Benassi. Three days later, Tracy died from his injuries at an Indianapolis hospital.

Putnam County Prosecutor's Investigator Charles Bollinger conducted an interview with one of Tonya Benassi's friends who, according to a probable cause affidavit, was told by Tonya that she and Tracy were arguing at the time of the crash and that Tonya, who was driving, became angry and "floored the vehicle."

Tonya Benassi, according to the probable cause document, told investigators that she was in fact speeding at the time of the crash but that she didn't know how fast she was going.

She blamed Tracy for causing the crash, telling investigators that he told her to slow down and put the car into neutral, causing it to go out of control.

Investigator Bollinger told the BannerGraphic that there were no skid marks to indicate the vehicle had been thrown into neutral or that any attempts to stop the car were made.

Bollinger also asked Benassi if she told her friend that she intentionally floored the vehicle. According to the probably cause affidavit, Benassi told Bollinger that "she could have made the statement."

Benassi could make her first court appearance today.

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  • Why would there be skid marks from throwing the vehicle into neutral? Park, yes, but not neutral. Actually, putting it in park at 100 mph would grenade the transmission as well.

    -- Posted by Geologist on Thu, Dec 6, 2007, at 8:39 AM
  • I'm so glad that justice has been done.

    -- Posted by billy b on Thu, Dec 6, 2007, at 3:39 PM
  • Actually, it would not go into park until the speed was reduced to less than 5mph. And even if it is too fast, it would cleanly shear the park pin, Regardless, at 100 mph in a Camaro, one little flick of the steering wheel is enough to lose control. Too bad that knowing all the facts still won't bring Tracy back. God bless all families hurt by this tragedy.

    -- Posted by Xgamer on Thu, Dec 6, 2007, at 5:17 PM
  • While this is indeed a tragedy resulting in death I truly do not believe the investigator has looked at the whole picture. Tonya also stated Tracy had grabbed the steering wheel. There should also be an investigation into the years of abuse leading upto the accident. I believe you would find plenty of blame to go around.

    -- Posted by Trying hard on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 11:07 AM
  • I just recently spent a great deal of time with Tonya and got very close to her. I read her paperwork. I held her when she cried. I talked with her late at night when she had nightmares. Doesn't anyone know the definition of accident? Tonya said that her and Tracy were arguing in the car and he threw cheese sticks in her face and just wanted to get home. the whole community knows of the terrible fights between them. She has lost everything. her husband is gone. Her father in law rented out their home. Her personal possesions were thrown away. Family members went through their marital property and took what they wanted. They cut up pictures.She was even asked not to come to the funeral of her own husband! She can not see her children, although at one point had supervised visits, but nobody would bring them. 2 people know what happended that day...1 is dead and the other hasn't been given the chance to tell her story. I love tonya and I intend to support her in every way that I can.

    -- Posted by Drakkensmomma on Tue, Feb 26, 2008, at 9:24 AM
  • I know first hand about abuse from Tracy. I understand where she is coming from about his rage and anger and temper, I tried to warn her back when she first got involved with him (91 or 92). I understand where the family is coming from because that is their brother/son/uncle, the Benassi family are a close nit family and always will be. But if you intentionally "floor it" so to speak and cause the death of another person and you are perfectly healthy with no medical reason why you floored it then you should be held accountable no mater how abusive he was. why didn't she leave him or put him in jail for abusing her? Well we will never know now.

    -- Posted by catlover19732003 on Sat, Jun 14, 2008, at 9:53 AM
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