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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Oglala Tribal Member Sentenced for Involuntary Manslaughter

POCATELLO – Ruben Wounded Head, III, 20, of Chubbuck, Idaho, was sentenced today to a total of 46 months imprisonment for involuntary manslaughter resulting from a drunk driving crash, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez, announced. Wounded Head will serve 34 months in federal prison in addition to the 12 months he already served in Fort Hall Tribal Jail on the same charge, for a total of 46 months. Wounded Head pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court in May 2017.


According to the plea agreement, on November 13, 2015, Wounded Head drove with friends to buy alcohol, and his friends left the store with two bottles of Bacardi rum and went to an area on the Fort Hall reservation known as Ferry Butte. There, Wounded Head drank one bottle of rum. Wounded Head then drove his friends back to a residence on the reservation and then proceeded to drive home. At approximately 2:50 a.m., at the intersection of Hawthorne Road and Cemetery Road, Wounded Head’s 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche crossed the centerline and crashed head-on into a Chevrolet Tahoe, killing both occupants of the Tahoe. Wounded Head’s Avalanche was traveling between 59 and 61 miles per hour at the time of crash. The posted speed limit in the area is 45 miles per hour. Wounded Head’s blood alcohol level at the hospital was 0.216 percent, far in excess of the legal limit.


Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Wounded Head to pay $13,480 in restitution to the victims’ families and ordered that Wounded Head be on supervised release for three years following his prison sentence.


The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Hall Tribal Police.

Indian Country Law and Justice
BARBARA LAYMAN Public Information Officer (208) 334-1211
Updated August 2, 2017