SANTA MARIA,Calif. - During a preliminary hearing on Monday morning in Santa Maria, CHP investigators testified that Benjamin Bettencourt had been drinking at several places the night his van hit a tree in November. Originally, the district attorney's office was going to charge Bettencourt with vehicular manslaughter.
Bettencourt now faces two charges involving DUI and causing great bodily injury.
Jennifer Clarke and Bettencourt were friends for just a few months before the fatal accident happened. Clarke suffered brain trauma which landed her into a coma for nine days, before her family took her off life support.
According to the D.A.'s office, this isn't the first fatal accident that Bettencourt has been involved in. Back in 1999 he was convicted of a misdemeanor for vehicular manslaughter after he crashed his car, resulting in the death of an 18-year-old woman and leaving Bettencourt paralyzed.
Bettencourt will be back in court on Aug, 12 where he will arraigned for his new charges.