Mom of driver in Madie Hart's Downtown dragging death case: 'There is another side to this story'

Posted at 7:28 AM, Apr 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-07 17:51:55-04

CINCINNATI -- The driver named in the case of an 18-year-old's dragging death Downtown fled because she was terrified, according to her mother. 

Briana Benson, 20, has not been charged with a crime in connection to the death of Madie Hart on March 26 in downtown Cincinnati. She was identified as the driver in the case in police documents and by her mother in an interview with WCPO.

Authorities are reviewing three surveillance videos that show Hart being hit and dragged by a car on Walnut Street.

Madie Hart

Hart and Benson had been in a fight before the fatal collision, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. After pounding on the car, Hart walked away toward the sidewalk. As she was stepping out of the street, the car hit her, Deters said.

Police called the hit an intentional attack. The original police report states the "suspect altered the direction of her vehicle on the roadway and struck the victim." Deters said Hart was dragged about a block under the car.

"It was bad," he said.

According to Briana Benson's mother, Aimee Benson, Briana fled because she was terrified.

“This is a nightmare for everybody involved,” Aimee Benson said. “But there is another side to this story and it has to be told."

She added that her daughter drove straight home after the collision and went to the police together.

"Someone's life was taken, but it doesn't mean that somebody's guilty of murder ... It was an accident, period," Aimee Benson said. "She was trying to get away."

The case will go to a grand jury next week, according to Deters.

"The issue is, what was the intent? If it was intentional, it was murder," Deters said. "If it was accidental, that's totally different."

Deters said one of the videos, from a city-owned camera, may be released to the public next week.

Hart graduated from St. Ursula Academy in 2016. She was in her first year at Ohio State University.

Her family hasn't commented on the criminal investigation, but a family spokesperson released a statement Friday saying, in part, "Their focus remains on Madie and the irreparable hole her loss has left in their lives."

Hart was an organ donor and her organs were used to save at least three lives, according to her family.

She spent several days in a coma before she died.

"It should be a moment that parents sit their kids down and explain how crazy this is," Deters said.

WCPO's Tanya O'Rourke contributed to this report.