News and Press Releases

Ronda Bird Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on July 18, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, RONDA BIRD, a 27-year-old resident of Browning, appeared for sentencing. BIRD was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 37 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 3 years

BIRD was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Weiss, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On July 24, 2010, after swimming and drinking whiskey with friends at a location north of East Glacier, Montana, BIRD got in the driver's seat of a car carrying three other passengers. A witness and passenger in the car told law enforcement that he was surprised by BIRD'S insistence on driving the group given that "she was right there drinking with us."

Approximately two to three miles down the road, they came upon a right hand bend in the road. One of the passengers in the car estimated she was traveling around 50 miles per hour. Another passenger in the car told BIRD to be careful and slow down. BIRD began to lose control going around the turn. She drifted seven feet across the center line. BIRD hit and killed a motorcyclist driving in the opposite direction.

In a study of the crash, the Montana Highway Patrol estimated that BIRD'S speed at the time of the crash was 46 miles per hour. The warning sign along the road alerted drivers that 35 miles per hour or less was the appropriate speed for this stretch of the road.

After the crash, BIRD was transported to the Northern Rockies Medical Center in Cut Bank, Montana. Personnel at the medical center drew BIRD'S blood. The state crime lab later advised that BIRD'S alcohol content - approximately four hours after the accident -

BIRD is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BIRD will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BIRD does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Montana Highway Patrol.



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