ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — During Tuesday’s hearing in federal court in Albuquerque, the Jicarilla Apache woman admitted killing a man in a car crash while she was driving drunk
A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Albuquerque to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a man killed in a car crash last year on the Jicarilla Apache reservation, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The news release said that Richaline Atole, 30, a member of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, entered the plea under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office when she appeared before Chief U.S. Magistrate Richard L. Puglisi. During the hearing, Atole admitted killing 41-year-old Andy Talamante while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, according to the news release.
Atole faces up to eight years in prison, a maximum $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release when she is sentenced, the news release said. The date for sentencing was not immediately set, and Atole remains on conditions of release under pretrial supervision pending the sentencing hearing, according to the news release.
The news release said that according to the criminal complaint, Talamante was passenger in the back seat of a car driven by Atole on the evening of Oct. 16, 2010, and alleges that he was in a hurry to get home and insisted Atole pass a slower moving vehicle.
When Atole attempted to pass the vehicle, she swerved, lost control of her car and went off the side of the road in an arroyo, the news release said. Talamante was ejected from the car and was dead when Jicarilla Apache police officers arrived at the crash site.
The news release said that according to witnesses, Atole’s car had gone airborne and flipped four or five times before coming to rest on the ground. Atole and a passenger in the front seat of car suffered minor injuries, the news release said.
Tests on blood drawn from Atole at San Juan Region Medical Center more than three hours after the crash showed she had a blood-alcohol content of 0.231 percent, the news release said. The presumed level of intoxication in New Mexico 0.08 percent.