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Press Release

Winnebago Man Sentenced for Felony DUI Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Joseph C. Snowball, age 24 of Winnebago, was sentenced by Chief United States District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp for his felony conviction of driving under the influence while having a minor child present in the vehicle.  Snowball was sentenced to five years’ probation and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $188,621.25 for injuries suffered by the passengers in the vehicle he was driving.  While on probation, Snowball will be required to perform 100 hours of community service.  In addition, he will not be allowed to drive unless he has an ignition interlock device installed on his vehicle. 

On May 11, 2012, Snowball was in a vehicle on the Winnebago Indian Reservation along with four other persons, including a five year old child.  The adults in the vehicle had been drinking for an extended period of time.  When the owner of the vehicle became too intoxicated to drive safely, Snowball took over even though he did not have a driver’s license and even though he was also intoxicated.  Within minutes after taking over control of the car, Snowball lost control of the vehicle causing it to leave the roadway and crash into a tree.  Snowball’s blood alcohol level was determined to be .234.  All the passengers suffered injuries, although none were life-threatening. 

Although this was Snowball’s first DUI offense, he was convicted of a felony because federal law makes driving under the influence while having a minor child present in the vehicle an offense punishable by an additional one year  term of imprisonment over the standard penalties for a DUI conviction.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Updated January 29, 2015