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Press Release

Gallup Woman Sentenced for Drunken Rollover Crash That Killed Unrestrained Infant

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

ALBUQUERQUE – A Gallup woman was sentenced to a five-year term of probation after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter for drunkenly rolling her vehicle and killing an 8-month-old boy who was ejected from the vehicle.

According to court document, on February 11, 2022, Mariah Chapo, 27, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, two friends, and 8-month-old John Doe traveled to collect firewood. When they arrived, the group began drinking alcohol. During this time, John Doe was unrestrained in the back seat.

An argument between the other two members of the group caused Chapo to drive off at high speed with John Doe. A mile down the road, Chapo failed to navigate a turn and rolled the vehicle. John Doe was ejected from the backseat and killed.

Chapo's BAC was 0.12 and 0.11, and an empty vodka bottle was found at the scene.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, made the announcement today.

The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Nation Police Department and the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew J. McGinley is prosecuting the case.

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Updated June 12, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-209