Barre Woman Sentenced Six to 15 Years For Fatal Wrong-Way Crash

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A Barre woman behind a deadly crash in 2015 was sentenced to six to 15 years behind bars Monday. The crash killed Brendon Cousino, an EMT from Richmond.

"Hearing Garry's words on the phone that night 'oh no, oh no, oh no' the state police confirming our son died in an accident,” said Cindy Cousino, Brendon’s mother as she addressed the courtroom.

Cousino was just 30 years-old when he was killed in 2015 by a wrong-way driver on I89 near Richmond. The driver was Karri Benoir, who police say was attempting suicide when she intentionally crossed the median.

"Each morning I wake up hoping it's not true and that it's just a bad dream," said Garry Cousino, Brendon’s father as he addressed the courtroom.

Dressed in orange, Brendon's favorite color and fighting off tears five of Brendon's family members shared stories

Cindy said, "It just feels like too many years to have to live with this horrible loss."

Brendon’s mother says he was driving to pick up his daughter's birthday cake when the crash occurred. Cousino's family describes him as being selfless, aside from helping out at Richmond rescue, he was also a carpenter.

"My uncle was an amazing man, in fact he was the happiest person I had ever met and I want to be just like him," said Jasmine Cousino, Brendon’s niece.

Benoir accepted a plea deal in August. She pleaded guilty to gross negligent operation resulting in death. The 25 year-old will serve six to 15 years behind bars however, she'll be eligible for parole in four due to time already served.

"I cannot pretend I fully understand your grief as I have never lost a child, parent or husband,” said Benoir.

Benoir also addressed the courtroom, apologizing for her actions.

Benoir said, "I don't know why this happened, I don't know why I survived and Mr. Cousino did not, all I know is I never tried to hurt anyone and if I could go back in time and never get in that car I would."

Following Benoir's sentencing, the Cousino family says her apology seemed sincere.

Cindy said, "The last life Brendon may have saved may be karri's and I believe that."

Benoir will be under the supervision of the Vermont Department of Corrections until she is 40 years-old. It will also determine when and if she gets her driving privileges back.

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