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Press Release

Woman from Oglala, SD Sentenced for Assault

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that an Oglala, South Dakota, woman convicted of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury was sentenced by Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Judge.

Essence Belt, age 37, was sentenced on June 1, 2020, to 5 years of probation, ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund and $4,000 in restitution.

Belt was indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2019.  Belt consumed an excessive amount of alcohol and attempted to drive to Oelrichs to acquire additional beer.  Due to alcohol consumption, Belt lost control of the vehicle she was driving and crashed shortly after 9:00 a.m. on December 12, 2018.  Crash data revealed that Belt was driving 85 miles per hour in a residential area, with a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour, 5 seconds prior to the crash.  The passenger in the front seat was ejected approximately 100 feet from the vehicle and is now a quadriplegic.  The back seat passenger was partially ejected and sustained a hip injury.  Belt also sustained serious injuries requiring hospitalization.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Poppen prosecuted the case.

Updated June 9, 2020

Indian Country Law and Justice