Kenai man gets 12 years in 2010 car crash fatality

A Kenai man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for causing the death of a Washington, D.C., tourist killed in a 2010 Memorial Day weekend car crash near Anchor Point. 

Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran sentenced Alfred Jones, 51, to 13 years with three years suspended on a manslaughter charge and five years with three years suspended on a first-degree assault charge. In October Jones had pleaded guilty to those charges.

The sentencing was Feb. 12.

Jones admitted to recklessly causing the death of Kathleen Benz, then 25, in a May 29, 2010, crash near Mile 163.5 Sterling Highway near Blackwater Bend. Jones drifted over the centerline in his truck, forcing three southbound cars and two northbound cars off the road, and hitting a Subaru in which Benz was a passenger. 

Friends of Benz also were in some of the other cars, part of a group traveling to Homer for a vacation. The crash also injured Daniel Fairchild, the driver, and a passenger, Christine Hung, friends who attended Georgetown University in D.C. with Benz. 

“There’s no sentence that I can impose that would bring Kathleen back, or satisfy her friends and family, for which I am truly sorry,” Moran said.

Moran also revoked Jones’ driver’s license for life. Jones has been in custody since June 2012 after being arrested on charges related to the crash. Before that he served an 18-month sentence in federal prison for laundering drug money.

Moran received more than 70 letters from friends and family of Benz, including one from her father, Thomas Benz. He wrote of the profound loss he felt of his only daughter and sister of his five sons. He went through “every parent’s nightmare,” receiving a phone call that a child had died. 

“I beg this court, I beseech your honor to make sure the phone doesn’t ring for someone else,” he wrote.

Speaking at his sentencing, Jones asked for the family’s forgiveness. He said he had been transformed by God to be a better father, husband and friend.

“As I move forward, the memory of the pain I have caused this family will drive me toward better actions,” Jones said.


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