United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Fort Thompson, South Dakota, man charged with Involuntary Manslaughter was sentenced on February 7, 2012, by United States District Judge Roberto A. Lange. Austin P. Abernathy, age 20, was sentenced to 18 months in custody, 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.
Abernathy was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 12, 2011, and pled guilty to the charge on November 14, 2011.
The conviction was the result of a hit and run pedestrian/motor vehicle collision on December 5, 2010, when Abernathy was driving while under the influence of alcohol. Abernathy was driving west on Pomani Road in Fort Thompson when he struck the victim, who was in the westbound lane. Abernathy did not stop after the pedestrian/motor vehicle collision. The victim died as a result of injuries sustained.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs - Crow Creek Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services, South Dakota Department of Public Health, and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigations Forensic Lab. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marie H. Ruettgers.
Abernathy was immediately turned over to the custody of the United States Marshal.