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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Poplar woman admits involuntary manslaughter charge in fatal crash on Fort Peck Indian Reservation

GREAT FALLS — A Poplar woman today admitted to a charge stemming from the death of a passenger when the vehicle she was driving crashed on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Rachel Aileen Goodbird, 29, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Goodbird faces a maximum of eight years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for March 9, 2023. Goodbird was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court records that on July 24, 2021, Goodbird was driving the vehicle of the victim, Jane Doe, who was a passenger, in a reckless manner. Goodbird and Jane Doe had been drinking alcohol that evening prior to Goodbird driving the vehicle. An investigation determined that seconds before the accident, Goodbird was driving at approximately 80 mph in a 35-mph speed zone in the Poplar area. The vehicle was unable to make a turn, entered a ditch and hit an embankment. Jane Doe was found unresponsive in the front passenger seat and transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The victim was not wearing a seatbelt and the cause of her death was determined to be blunt force injuries.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy A. Johnson is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Fort Peck Law Enforcement, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol.

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Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Clair Johnson Howard Public Affairs Officer 406-247-4623
Press Release Number: 
22-270
Updated November 2, 2022