Andres Canceco plead guilty last Friday and was sentenced to prison for his involvement in a fatal crash on Interstate 45 on September 19, 2009. Canceco plead guilty to the offenses of Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault and was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the death of Jan Bennett and 10 years in prison for causing serious bodily injury to Robert Bennett. The defendant had faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the fatality. The maximum sentence for Intoxication Assault is 10 years in prison. Blood testing revealed that Canceco was legally intoxicated at the time of the crash. The crash occurred because Canceco was driving the wrong way on Interstate 45. Ironically, the crash occurred close to a highway sign warning people of the number of deaths on this stretch of roadway. The sign was placed at that location several years ago and has not been updated.
After the sentencing in the court, Captain Ken Ariola, with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted the District Attorney’s Office by ensuring that Robert Bennett and Jan Bennett’s family had an opportunity to personally address Canseco through a victim impact statement. Representatives of the victim’s family and MADD were present at the jail later that day for the statement. Those speaking on behalf of the family gave a compelling statement about how this tragic loss has destroyed a family. They admonished Canceco that his family could always visit him, but the only place they can visit Jan Bennett is a gravesite. Canceco somberly listened to the statements through an interpreter provided by the jail.
Vehicular Crimes Prosecutor, Warren Diepraam, stated that this case is symbolic of the tragedy caused on our roads. The Bennetts were returning to Huntsville from a high school football game in Houston when tragedy struck. Diepraam stated that the victims are good people whose lives are now shattered because of Canceco. Diepraam stated that he was satisfied with the resolution of the case because the family will not have to endure a trial and there will be no appeal on the case. Lastly, Diepraam stated that because Canceco used a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon, he would not be eligible for parole until he serves at least 9 years in prison. As a result of the conviction, Canceco is likely to be deported when released from prison.