A Kewa Pueblo man was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Albuquerque to 30 months in prison for assaulting a Santa Ana Pueblo tribal police officer with a dangerous weapon by intentionally hitting the officer with his vehicle, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Scott Daniel Benavidez, 29, also will serve two years on supervised release after he completes his prison sentence, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The news release said Benavidez, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Kewa, has been in federal custody since pleading guilty on May 11.
The case stemmed from an incident at the Pueblo of Santa Ana on July 26, 2010. U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said Benavidez assaulted a Santa Ana Pueblo police officer by driving a vehicle toward the officer and striking him.
The officer was not seriously injured, according to the news release.
The news release said that in entering his guilty plea, Benavidez admitted that he intentionally struck the officer because he did not want the officer and other officers working at the annual feast day celebration at the Pueblo of Santa Ana to know that he had alcohol in the car contrary to tribal law.
He said he and his girlfriend were leaving the celebration when he noticed several police officers directing traffic to and from the parking area, according to the news release.
The news release said when one of the officers asked him to stop, Benavidez panicked. He said that as officers were surrounding his vehicle, he accelerated, struck one of the officers and fled the scene, according to the news release.
The news release said as Benavidez was being pursued by other officers, he lost control of his vehicle and crashed.