LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — After almost three years, and a lengthy battle to get the case heard, a Bismarck family got their day in court.
A Hot Spring County jury has found Benjamin Ledwell of Texarkana, Texas guilty in the negligent homicide of four members of a Bismarck family.
On May 19, 2015, Ledwell was driving on Highway 7, when he crossed the center line and hit Cindy and Allen Rhein and their two adopted special needs sons, Steven and Anthony Sprankle head-on.
State Police allege they found prescription medication in his system, and other pills stuffed inside Ledwell's sock. He also had a prior DWI in Texarkana, Arkansas. None of that information was admitted as evidence in the Hot Spring County case.
Judge WIlliams initially threw the case out, saying it surpassed the Statute of Limitations. The family fought that decision all the way up to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which ruled on the matter and ultimately put it back in Judge Williams' court.
We spoke with the family after the ruling was made.
"I don't understand how you can kill four people negligently and the worst sentence you can get is a year on each count because it's a misdemeanor. You're going to serve these sentences concurrently, which means you're only obligated to serve one year”, said Walter Rhein, Allen’s brother.
The jury found Ledwell guilty, however they decided to suspend the one-year sentence he was facing. Meaning Ledwell will face no jail time for this crime.