Drunken driver accused of killing 21-year-old woman has previous DUI record

Published: February 19, 2021 11:24 AM EST
Updated: February 19, 2021 11:31 AM EST
Stephen Christian Benson (Credit: Charlotte County Sheriff's Office. )

A drunken driver accused of killing a 21-year-old woman from Cape Coral has a history of driving under the influence.

Stephen Benson, 50, was arrested on Thursday for his involvement in a Nov. 13, 2020 crash that killed Brittany Michelle Emme.

Benson is accused of driving his F-150 in the wrong direction on US-41, near Morningside Drive, and colliding head-on with Emme’s vehicle.

The Florida Highway Patrol investigated the crash.

Emme died on scene. A third driver was also hurt in the crash. Benson was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries. His blood-alcohol content level was .284 – more than three times the legal limit, according to an arrest report.

This was not the first time Benson drove while under the influence, his arrest report states.

In 2012, Benson’s license was suspended for refusing to submit to a breath test.

In 2014, it was revoked indefinitely for four or more instances of DUI.

Benson remains in Charlotte County Jail on charges of DUI involving death, DUI involving property damage (five counts) and driving while license suspended causing death.

Emme’s father has filed a wrongful death suit against Benson and a woman named Jennifer Lynn Rose. The suit claims Rose acted negligently by allowing Benson to drive her vehicle.

The lawsuit states Emme’s father “will continue to suffer mental pain, anguish and suffering as a result of his daughter’s death.”

A memorial for Emme was set up at the crash site by friends and family,

Her family described her as a “funny, free-spirit” who loved animals.

“There will always be a missing piece to our family, and all we have left of her are memories and photos,” Jennifer said. “We will forever be broken-hearted.”