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Ex-caregiver spared prison

A former caregiver at AWS who went off to play basketball while leaving a severely mentally impaired man alone in a van will not go to prison.

Under a plea agreement made with prosecutors, 23-year-old Denzel E. Benson received a suspended 1 1/2 -year sentence in Allen Superior Court on Monday.

Initially charged with one felony count of neglect of a dependent, Benson was accused of leaving the man in a running van this past March while he played basketball for about an hour, court documents said.

Police were called when people could hear the man in the van yelling.

An officer said in court documents that the temperature outside was in the 70s and that the windows were cracked, but they could not tell whether the air conditioner in the van was running.

Medics determined the man was OK, and Benson was fired from his job at AWS, formerly Anthony Wayne Services, according to court documents.

Judge Wendy Davis sentenced Benson to serve his suspended prison time on probation and also ordered him to wear an ankle bracelet for the next six months.

Davis also ordered him to report to a probation officer every week after that.

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