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Press Release

Man from El Guique, New Mexico, sentenced to five years in prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Julian Garcia struck the victim while operating an ATV on a crowded road during a Fourth of July celebration

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced today that Julian Lucas Garcia was sentenced to five years in prison. Following a five-day trial, a federal jury convicted Garcia, 33, of El Guique, New Mexico, on Sept. 17, 2021, of one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, one count of operating an off-highway vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs resulting in bodily injury, and one count of operating an off-highway vehicle on a paved road resulting in bodily injury.

On July 4, 2019, on the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Garcia, a non-Indian, was recklessly driving an ATV without headlights in dark conditions through an area crowded with people waiting to watch a Fourth of July fireworks celebration at the Ohkay Owingeh Casino. The victim, identified as Jane Doe, an enrolled member of the San Ildefonso Pueblo, was crossing the road when Garcia accelerated and struck her. The collisions threw her into the air and 69 feet down the road. Doe was seriously injured and suffered traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, and a knee injury requiring a skin graft.

Jane Doe was initially transported to Presbyterian Española Hospital, then immediately flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital’s Trauma Center for emergency treatment. She underwent multiple surgeries and months of treatment in intensive care units and rehabilitation centers. However, after battling the injuries she suffered in the crash for over two years, Jane Doe passed away on Nov. 9, 2021.

Witnesses, including responding law enforcement, emergency medical personnel and hospital staff testified that Garcia smelled and appeared intoxicated. During questioning by law enforcement, Garcia refused his consent to provide a blood alcohol sample.

“As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, today’s sentence brings our collective accountability into sharp relief,” said U.S. Attorney Uballez. “Three years ago, Julian Garcia’s recklessness forever took a treasured member of our community, and in doing so Garcia’s family also lost of member of theirs to five years in federal prison. What began as a celebration ended in tragedy, all in one moment of careless self-indulgence. This is a sobering reminder that we are each members of a larger community and, as such, that we have a responsibility to keep one another safe.”

“The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services Northern Pueblos Agency and the Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Police Department share the sorrow the San Ildefonso Pueblo has experienced as a result of this tragedy,” said Brenda Gonzales, BIA-OJS Special Agent in Charge. “While nothing can be done to bring Jane Doe back, the family now has closure to allow them to begin healing.”

Upon his release from prison, Garcia will be subject to three years of supervised release. Garcia was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and must pay $7,570 in restitution.

The Northern Pueblos Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office of Justice Services, the Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Police Department, and the New Mexico State Police investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander F. Flores and Kyle T. Nayback prosecuted the case.

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Updated June 29, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 22-148