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Navajo woman sentenced on involuntary manslaughter and assault conviction

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ALBUQUERQUE – Miranda Rentz, 41, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Red Valley, Ariz., was sentenced in federal court in Albuquerque on Aug. 16 on involuntary manslaughter and assault charges.

Rentz will serve an 84-month prison sentence followed by three years of supervised release.

Rentz was arrested in January of 2015 on a criminal complaint charging her with involuntary manslaughter and assault that resulted in serious bodily injury. According to the complaint, Rentz killed one victim and seriously injured another when she crashed her vehicle head-on into the victims’ vehicle.

At the time of the crash, Rentz was under the influence of alcohol.

Court documents indicate that the assault victim suffered fractures to her right collarbone, ribs, upper chest wall, and right wrist, as well as brain bleeding and a bruised left lung.

The crash occurred Jan. 17, 2015, at a location within the Navajo Nation in San Juan County. Rentz was subsequently indicted on the same charges on Feb. 25, 2015.

On Jan. 20 of this year, Rentz pled guilty to the indictment and admitted killing one victim and assaulting a second, causing her to sustain serious bodily injury, by driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol.

Rentz acknowledged that the alcohol rendered her incapable of exercising clear judgment and a steady hand in operating the vehicle. She admitted operating the vehicle without due caution and with a reckless disregard that imperiled the lives of others.

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback.