23-Year-Old Pleads Not Guilty to Felony DUI Charges in Venice Crash That Left 1 Firefighter Dead, Another 2 Injured

A suspected DUI driver was arrested in Venice in connection with a crash that left a firefighter dead and two others injured on April 10, 2017, police say. (Credit: OnScene.TV)

A Los Angeles man on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to three felony charges for a fatal crash in Venice last month, officials said.

Benjamin Albert Seider, 23, was allegedly drunk when he ran a red light at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Ocean Avenue on April 10, striking the vehicle of three firemen from Marietta, Georgia, who were on vacation.

One of the firefighters, Ron Herens, was ejected from the group’s Volkswagen and killed while the other two were seriously injured.

The Marietta Police Department identified the wounded firemen as Doug Blanchard and Dillon Guest.

The firefighters were identified as Ron C. Herens, left, Doug Blanchard, center, and Dillon Guest, right. (Credit: Marietta Police Department)

L.A. district attorney’s officials charged Seider on Tuesday with one felony count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury and driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol content causing injury.

He was also hit with a special allegation that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on the victims, prosecutors said.

Seider is scheduled to return to court June 8.

If convicted as charged, he faces a possible maximum sentence of more than 12 years in state prison, officials said.