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Suspected drunk driver is charged with manslaughter in Venice crash that killed a Georgia firefighter

Ron Herens, the Georgia firefighter killed in the crash, in an undated file photo.
(handout)

A suspected drunken driver was charged Tuesday with manslaughter in the crash that killed a Georgia firefighter who was on vacation in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office alleged that Benjamin Seider, an L.A. resident, was driving under the influence of alcohol on the night of April 10 when he ran a red light and smashed into a Volkswagen at Washington Boulevard and Ocean Avenue in Venice.

Three firefighters visiting from Marietta, Ga., were in the Volkswagen, and the force of the crash caused Ron Herens, 23, to be thrown out of the vehicle.

Herens, who was a passenger in the Volkswagen, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two other firefighters, Dillon Guest and Doug Blanchard, suffered serious injuries, prosecutors said.

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Seider, 23, was formally charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, and driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol content causing injury, all felony counts.

If convicted on all charges, he faces more than 12 years in state prison.

Appearing in the Airport Courthouse, Seider pleaded not guilty. He remains free after posting $100,000 bail on April 11, according to jail records.

Herens was among a group of firefighters who had visited a Los Angeles Fire Department station on the day of the crash, according to accident records from L.A. County Fire Department. His body was flown back to Georgia, and a celebration of life ceremony was held last month.

“His work ethic came right through talking to him,” Marietta fire Chief Jackie Gibbs said at the ceremony, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

matt.hamilton@latimes.com

Twitter: @MattHjourno


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