- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A north Alabama jury convicted a man on reduced charges Thursday in a wreck that killed four young people nearly three years ago.

Marshall County jurors convicted Adrian Renteria, 22, of criminally negligent homicide and assault. He had been charged with manslaughter and a more serious assault count.

WHNT-TV (https://bit.ly/1ZgMncI ) reported that crying and exclamations were heard in the courtroom afterward. It was filled with friends and relatives of the victims.

Renteria was charged in a two-vehicle crash that left four teens dead and several others seriously injured in July 2013 after his car struck a pickup truck loaded with people. The truck flipped and caught fire.

The crash near Guntersville killed 21-year-old Blake Keener; 19-year-old Ryan Lawson; 18-year-old Ruben Pacheco; and 13-year-old Maegan Cordell. All four were in a pickup truck that collided with the car Renteria was driving.

Defense attorney Michael Stevens argued that no crime was committed and urged jurors in closing arguments to free Renteria.

“This was an accident. That’s what it was plain and simple,” he said.

District Attorney Steve Marshall disagreed.

“This was a crime, a crime that took the lives of four and assaulted others and we’ve proven that beyond a reason of a doubt,” he told jurors.

Renteria was driving on U.S. 431 when he lost control of the 2006 Chevy Cobalt he was driving and smashed into the truck carrying nine people. Both vehicles were heading north toward a swimming hole on Lake Guntersville.

Prosecution witnesses testified that Renteria was driving recklessly at more than 90 mph just before the crash. Passengers from the truck who survived testified that they told Renteria to slow down and that, at one point, he was driving close enough behind the truck for one of them to pour a drink on the hood of his car.

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