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Tennessee man sentenced to prison in DWI, leaving scene of accident case

A Tennessee man was sentenced to prison Wednesday in connection with a case that left three...
A Tennessee man was sentenced to prison Wednesday in connection with a case that left three people dead in 2017, according to Missouri prosecutors. (Source: RNN)((Source: RNN))
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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KENNETT, Mo. (KAIT) - A Tennessee man was sentenced to prison Wednesday in connection with a case that left three people dead in 2017, according to Missouri prosecutors.

Benny Lynn Johnson, 59, of Milan, Tenn. was convicted Wednesday in Stoddard County on felony DWI and leaving the scene of an accident.

According to a media release from Prosecuting Attorney Nicholas Jain, Johnson received the maximum possible sentence on each of the three DWI charges that caused a death and two leaving the scene of an accident charges.

Tiffini Santana, 32, Phoenix Santana, 10, and Jackson Venneman, 2, all of Butler, Mo. were killed in the Independence Day 2017 crash. Prosecutors had alleged that Johnson had struck them with his truck.

“The evidence presented during the three-day trial was that after attending a fireworks show in Malden, they were stranded with a flat tire on Route MM near the Dunklin and Stoddard County line. The three were getting into a vehicle to leave the area when Johnson’s truck sideswiped that car and struck and killed them,” Jain said. “Johnson was driving more than 80 miles per hour according to data from his vehicle’s airbag module.”

Authorities said Johnson then left the scene, failed to negotiate a curve, and was stuck in a nearby field.

Authorities also said Johnson’s blood-alcohol level was two and a half to four times the legal limit of .08 in Missouri.

Johnson received 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on each of the three DWI’s and four years each on the two charges of leaving the scene of an accident, Jain said in the media release.

Johnson is set to be formally sentenced Dec. 1.

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