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Parmelee couple sentenced to prison after two children die in car crash
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Parmelee couple sentenced to prison after two children die in car crash

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A Parmalee couple was sentenced to federal prison after two children died in a drunken car crash. 

Dakota Horned Eagle, 29, was sentenced at the federal court in Pierre last month to 4.3 years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and causing a serious injury to a minor while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, court records show. Ashley Stoneman, 25, was sentenced Monday to 1.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse. 

Horned Eagle was originally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and six counts of child abuse while Stoneman was originally charged with six counts of child abuse. 

The deaths and charges stem from a July 12, 2019 car crash, according to the factual basis documents the couple signed:

That morning, the couple drove from their Parmalee home to a relative's house near the Upper Cut Meat community on the Rosebud Reservation. They both drank alcohol before driving back home around 1 p.m. with their five children and another child in their SUV. 

None of the children, who ranged in age from 2 months to 12, were restrained in car seats or wearing seat belts when Horned Eagle crashed and rolled off a dirt road around 1:15 p.m. 

First responders found the SUV in a ditch on the west side of the road with all of the side windows shattered and the driver door bent open. Stoneman was sitting on the ground holding one of her children while two children — the couple's 7-year-old son and a 12-year-old boy  — were found unresponsive on the ground. 

The first responders performed first aid on the children who were then taken by ambulance to the Rosebud hospital where they were pronounced dead. Autopsies found the 7-year-old died from blunt force injuries to the head while the 12-year-old died of blunt force injuries to his torso. 

Stoneman, Horned Eagle and the four surviving children received non-life threatening injuries. 

During a July 23 interview while hospitalized in Rapid City, Horned Eagle told an FBI agent that he was the driver, he was highly intoxicated that day and he may have blacked out. Stoneman, who was out of the hospital when she was interviewed on July 15, told an agent that she had been drinking that day, was holding her infant on her lap, and knew that Horned Eagle was very drunk before they got in the car. 

An accident report prepared by Rosebud Sioux law enforcement found Horned Eagle had been driving between 53-68 mph in a 35 mph zone. 

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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