UPDATE: Man pleads guilty in fatal 2016 motorcycle crash - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Man pleads guilty in fatal 2016 motorcycle crash

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Henry Cofrancesco in court Monday. WRCBtv.com photo Henry Cofrancesco in court Monday. WRCBtv.com photo

UPDATE: It was an emotional day in court when a Chattanooga man admitted to causing the crash that killed a local father last year.

Bob Benedict had just watched his daughter graduate high school when a drunk driver hit the motorcycle he was riding.      

Henry Cofrancesco will serve eight to 12 years behind bars for the 2016 crash on Lee Highway that killed Benedict. The exact amount of time will be determined by a judge.  

Lisa Benedict wipes away tears as she finally hears the two words she's waited almost a year for.

"Even though I've been told it's quick, it seems very slow to me and then just to hear another court date set, it gets disappointing. You just want something to hurry up and happen," she said. 

For the first time, Cofrancesco admitted in court he's guilty of causing the 2016 crash that killed Lisa's husband, Bob. 

Court documents show the 34-year-old's blood-alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

"I'm hoping and praying that he does get the most time that he can get and I hope that he does find within himself to realize what he did and be sorry for it," Lisa said.

Cofrancesco will serve time behind bars for vehicular homicide and enhanced DUI. 

The judge dismissed the other five charges against him including possessing cocaine and leaving the scene. 

It's the end to a long string of hearings. 

Katie Reed, a victim services specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has sat next to Lisa at every hearing.

Advocates like her help guide victim's families through the justice system.

"This can all be extremely confusing. Their world is already turned upside down and then they get thrown into this world and it's a slow, frustrating system," Reed said.

Lisa hopes she can one day use her experience to help change that and prevent anyone else from suffering the same pain of losing a loved one in a DUI crash.

"The law seem sto all be for the criminals and not for the victims and it weighs on me every single day," Lisa added.

Cofrancesco will be sentenced on July 20th. 


 PREVIOUS STORY: A Chattanooga man is facing charges in connection to a crash that killed a man on Lee Highway. 

Investigators believe Henry Cofrancesco, 33, was drunk when he left Images Nightclub, turned onto Lee Highway, when he struck and killed a motorcyclist. 

Now, Channel 3 is learning drugs may be involved too. 

It took four months to charge the man police say is responsible for causing the crash that killed Bob Benedict. 

The 60-year-old motorcyclist had just watched his daughter graduate high school hours before his life was cut short. 

Chattanooga police say Cofrancesco left Images Nightclub when he got into an argument with his girlfriend. 

The 33-year-old now faces some pretty serious charges including vehicular homicide, DUI and possession of cocaine. 

He's also charged with leaving the scene of an accident and failure to render aid. 

Cofrancesco is out of jail on a $50,000 bond. 

Channel 3 stopped by his home to see if he had anything to say about the charges against him but no one answered the door. 

Now, those that knew Benedict wait for justice and remember the father who loved no one more than his daughter.

"He had a big heart. His passions were his daughter and softball," friend Aaron Benefield said. 

Cofrancesco will answer to a judge at the end of the month. 


PREVIOUS STORY: A man is facing vehicular homicide and drug-related charges in connection to a crash that killed a motorcyclist on Lee Highway in May. 

Henry Cofrancesco, 33, is behind bars, charged with vehicular homicide, possession of cocaine, failure to yield right of way, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to render aid and driving under the influence in the crash that killed Bob Benedict, 60. 

Chattanooga Police say Henry Cofrancesco was at the night club Images when he get got in an argument with his girlfriend and left.

They say he pulled out onto the road, hit the curb, and continued out onto the highway. That’s when he struck Benedict on his motorcycle.

Cofrancesco refused to consent to any field sobriety test at the scene, according to sources. A blood search warrant was obtained and executed. 

Benedict was killed hours after his only daughter's high school graduation. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Channel 3 is learning new details about the man killed over the weekend in a motorcycle accident. Bob Benedict had just watched his daughter graduate from high school, before being struck and killed on Lee Highway. Shortly after 8pm Saturday Benedict was hit by a man, leaving a nightclub.

Friends of Bob Benedict say the 60-year-old loved spending time on his motorcycle and watching his daughter grow as an athlete. Now friends are remembering him for his laugh and how he loved watching his daughter play ball.

 “He had a big heart. He was passionate about his daughter and softball,” said family friend, Aaron Benefield. It was news he never wanted to hear. “We had plans on meeting up either this week or next for lunch and to catch up.”

His longtime friend Bob Benedict was killed hours after his only daughter's high school graduation. “We started getting phone calls and texts telling us. I know everyone was trying to alert everyone that knew him. I'm shocked and in disbelief.”

Chattanooga Police say Henry Cofrancesco was at the night club Images when get got in an argument with his girlfriend and left. They say he pulled out onto the road, hit the curb, and continued onto the highway. That’s when he struck Benedict on his motorcycle.

The club owner said 33-year-old Cofrancesco is a regular at the bar. His staff is trained to make sure all customers are safe to drive before leaving. He says Cofrancesco might have snuck out of the bar when employees thought he was in the bathroom. The owner believes it was an accident but a tragic one for the local softball community. “At the ball field he never sat down. Always pacing, walking. The other parents would be relaxing; he was up walking going back and forth. Full of life and energy.”
           
Benefield says Benedict was a father who loved no one more than his daughter. He was looking forward to moving his daughter to college in the fall. “She'd go off to college and he'd always dream of watching her play college ball.”

Friends say Benedict and his wife planned to move to Florida to be close to their daughter and watch her play college softball. Henry Cofrancesco refused to do a field sobriety test. We are still waiting for results of his blood work.

Charges are still pending.


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga Police responded to a fatal crash located at 5950 Lee Hwy around 8:00 p.m. Saturday night.

Officials say the crash involved a 2015 BMW convertible and a 2006 American Ironhorse motorcycle.

33-year-old, Henry Cofrancesco was at a club with his girlfriend, sources say. While at the club, an argument between the couple occurred. Sources say, the couple consumed alcohol while at the establishment. 

Cofrancesco decided to leave the club and got into his vehicle and pulled straight into the roadway. His vehicle went over the curb and proceeded to pullout, and struck motorcyclist, Robert Benedict, 60, who was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Cofrancesco refused to consent to any field sobriety test at the scene, according to sources. A blood search warrant was obtained and executed. The results of the chemical test will determine if any charges will be filed related to intoxication. 

No charges have been filed at this time, but the crash is still under investigation.

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