Guilty But No Jail Time For Man Who Caused Crash That Killed 4

HOT SPRING COUNTY, Ark.-- A Hot Spring County jury found a man guilty of killing 4 people in a car crash.  The suspect then walked out of the courtroom the same day because of a suspended sentence. 

A family member of those who died talked with us on Friday after the verdict and the sentencing.  Walter Rhein's brother and along with his sibling's wife and two kids were killed when a truck crashed into their SUV back in 2015. Nearly 3 years later, drivers still pass 4 crosses on the side of Highway 7 just north of Bismarck.

Rhein explained to us that the man found guilty walked out of the courtroom serving no jail time and paying no fine. 

"It was a very high feeling that to find out that they convicted him but then it was very low feeling to realize he got a walk out of that court 'scott free.' Nothing more than the charges to his name after killing four people," noted Rhein.

Tuesday, May 15, 2015, is a day the Rhein family will never forget. That's when the deadly crash happened.Just days later, we showed you their other son inspire the community with his strength as he graduated without his parents or brothers watching. 

Rhein said, " I don't feel like the punishment met the crime."

Now, Friday, January 12, 2018, is another day that will always be remembered. 

A Hot Spring County jury convicted Benjamin Ledwell Friday on four counts of negligent homicide for the deadly crash. Then the jury sentenced Ledwell to one year in the county jail for each misdemeanor and gave him a fine. 

Rhein said the next part he almost could not believe. He said the jury suspended it -- meaning the man responsible for the deaths of his family members left the courtroom with no jail time and no fine. 

He said it is not about closure,

"It's more about someone who was able to kill four people in a vehicle accident or not even accident it was a crash. Clearly across the line that was what he was convicted of negligent homicide," said Rhein.

The brother who drove 19 hours from Florida for the jury trial clinched his court notes outside the hotel. 

"It's been a roller coaster of a ride," he said. 

He told reporter Price McKeon he wants to make sure his family doesn't lose their voice that was taken away. 

The criminal court may be over for the two parties, but we learned a civil lawsuit remains open.


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