Driver sentenced in Downtown hit-and-run that killed St. Ursula grad

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A woman convicted of intentionally hitting an 18-year-old with her car in downtown Cincinnati last spring, killing her, learned her fate Thursday.

"I'm sorry to the family and I wish it hadn't happened," Briana Benson said just before a Hamilton County judge sentenced her to 18 years to life in prison. Her driver's license also was suspended for life.

Earlier this year, a jury found Benson, 21, guilty of murder, aggravated vehicular homicide, felonious assault and leaving the scene of a crime.

Hamilton County prosecutors said Benson ran down Maddie Hart, dragging her for 88 feet, on March 26, 2017 after a fight among a group of girls on Walnut and Seventh streets outside Aronoff Center.

The entire incident was caught on surveillance video on three different recordings, including a city traffic cam video .

Benson had alcohol, marijuana and cocaine in her system. Hart had alcohol and a trace amount of marijuana. She and her friends had been bar-hopping that night, according to testimony.

"First, I want to say I'm sorry to the family. It was an accident and that night I wished that none of it ever happened and I really did not do it on purpose," Benson said.

Her mother said in court Thursday she has "a hole in my heart and it will be there for the rest of my life."

Madie's father, Steve, also addresses the court.

"When you see your beautiful daughter laying in a hospital bed and she's broken, she's swollen and her head is shaved... and then you have to go down and watch your daughter take her last breath. When this happened you prayed to God 'please save my daughter' and at the end your praying to God, 'please God let her take her last breath so other people's prayers can be answered with the organs that she donated,' because that's who Madie was, that's a tough, tough pill to swallow. It's a tough gig. I wish it on nobody."

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