Man admits to suffocating 17-year-old girlfriend after she survived deliberate 115-mph crash

Lancaster County Sheriff's Office

Lancaster County Sheriff's Office

MANHEIM, Pa. — A 21-year-old man was sentenced Friday to a maximum of 56 years in prison after he admitted to suffocating his 17-year-old girlfriend after she survived a deliberate 115-mph crash back in 2012, according to Lancaster Online.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Wilson told the court that on Dec. 4, 2012, Benjamin Daniel Klinger was speeding when he crashed a 1986 Toyota Celica into a guardrail.

Investigators said Klinger was driving at speeds of 115 mph and found no evidence of braking, according to the report.

A motorist who came upon the crash called 911 after observing Klinger sitting on a face-down Samantha “Sammi” Heller beside the car.

Heller’s moans could be heard on the 911 call, according to the report. She died as a result of crash injuries and suffocation.

“At first glance, this appeared to be simply another tragic vehicle accident,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman told the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era back in 2012. “However, the police worked hand-in-hand with our forensic experts and saw this was far more complicated, sinister and certainly criminal.”

Klinger admitted to the crime on Friday.

“I accept full responsibility for the loss of a very special person,” Klinger said Heller. Facing Heller’s parents and family members, he said, “I want you to know with all my heart I’m sorry … really sorry.”

Klinger was sentenced to a minimum of 28 years and a maximum of 56 years in prison.



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