Benassi eligible for transition program
INDIANAPOLIS -- A Fillmore woman sentenced in December to two-and-a-half years of prison time may be released into a transition program in April.
Tonya M. Benassi, 36, had nearly a year of time served credit when she was sent to the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis on a reckless homicide conviction on Dec. 4.
Earlier this week, the Indiana Department of Corrections filed a report with Putnam County Circuit Court stating Benassi was eligible for the DOC's Common Transition Program.
That report has been forwarded to Putnam County Community Corrections, where Benassi's file will be reviewed and a recommendation to the Putnam County Circuit Court will be made.
"(Benassi) will still be a DOC inmate, but she'll either go on electronic home monitoring or into a work release program," said Kim Qualls, CTP coordinator. "A lot of times, the people in the program get released and live in hotels or homeless shelters until they can get a home."
The Putnam County Court has until April 22 to let the DOC know whether or not it will approve Benassi's move into the transition program. Although PCCC representatives make a recommendation on the measure, the court in which sentencing took place is where the final determination will be made.
"We're still reviewing it," said PCCC director Carmen Sims. "There's a lot that goes into the recommendation. They have to have a residence and a home phone -- those are the two big things -- and we also look at what they were charged with and their history."
In connection with an Oct. 12, 2007 car crash that killed her husband, Tracy Benassi, Benassi was charged with Class B felony aggravated battery and Class C felonies criminal recklessness and reckless homicide. In exchange for her guilty plea on one of the lesser felonies, the other two charges against her were dropped.
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.
Tonya Benassi was arrested in December 2007.
At the conclusion of her DOC sentence, Benassi will spend 18 months on probation.