Impaired driver sentenced to 71 months in federal prison for death of passenger

TUCSON, Ariz. - On June 11, Sunshine Marie Blackowl, 34, of Sells, Ariz., a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to 71 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Blackowl pleaded guilty on March 16 to involuntary vehicular manslaughter.

According to the plea agreement, on Nov. 7, 2010, at around 1:30 a.m., Blackowl was speeding in her pick-up truck on Federal Route 19, near Sells, Ariz., on the Tohono O'odham Nation, when she lost control of the truck, crossed over the oncoming lane of traffic, and crashed into a tree beyond the opposite shoulder of the road. The collision killed her sister-in-law and injured her sister, both of whom were passengers in the truck. Toxicology results revealed that Blackowl was under the influence of both alcohol and cocaine.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Tohono O'odham Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Micah Schmit, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

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