- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

RICHMOND, Vt. (AP) - Prosecutors are charging a 23-year-old Vermont woman with second-degree murder, saying she was attempting to commit suicide by crossing an interstate median and crashing into an oncoming car.

Police say Karri Benoir of Barre, Vermont, intended to kill herself when she crossed the median of Interstate 89 in Richmond on July 30. The crash killed 30-year-old Brendon Cousino of Richmond, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The case marks the second time in less than two years that Vermont motorists have been killed in what police say was a suicide attempt involving drivers crossing an interstate median and hitting another car.

Former Fortune 500 executive Robert Dellinger of Sunapee, New Hampshire, is serving at least nine years in prison in connection with the December 2013 crash that killed a Vermont couple and their unborn fetus.

Vermont law describes second-degree murder as a death caused by a defendant’s “wanton disregard of the likelihood that death or great bodily harm would result” from his or her conduct.

Benoir, who was ejected from her car, remains hospitalized at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Police say if she is not released by Thursday - the date of her arraignment - she will be arraigned at the hospital.

It was not immediately known if she has a lawyer. A phone listing for her could not be found.

New Hampshire prosecutors said Dellinger told investigators he was trying to kill himself when he steered his pickup at high speed across the I-89 median and sheered of the top of the SUV the couple was in travelling northbound.

He pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and assault. He was sentenced in April in connection with the deaths of 24-year-old Amanda Murphy, who was 8 months pregnant, and her fiancé, 29-year-old Jason Timmons. The couple was from Wilder, Vermont.


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