Jerome Dayzie admits driving drunk south of Shiprock

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FARMINGTON — An Arizona man has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for driving drunk south of Shiprock and killing a man after crashing his vehicle into a flatbed trailer.

Jerome Dayzie, 44, of Roundrock, Arizona, pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement during a hearing Monday in Albuquerque federal court, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

He was accused of killing a man on Dec. 9, 2017, when his vehicle struck a flatbed trailer south of Shiprock, which caused his vehicle to flip and eject the victim from the back seat, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Dayzie, his wife and the victim, listed as John Doe, were in a vehicle driving to Roundrock from Cortez, Colorado, when the crash occurred about a mile west of U.S. Highway 491 on Navajo Route 13.

Dayzie was driving the two passengers, and all three were drinking beer purchased at a Cortez liquor store.

He was driving when the sun got in his face, then he noticed a vehicle traveling east toward him and a flatbed trailer parked on the side of the road that was partially in the roadway, according to court documents.

Dayzie told law enforcement, "It's either I hit the other vehicle or I hit the trailer," according to the affidavit.

In the plea agreement, Dayzie said he was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed the vehicle into a flatbed trailer carrying furniture.

The crash caused the victim to be ejected from the vehicle, and he wound up pinned under it.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

Dayzie's blood alcohol level was 0.196, according to the plea agreement.

The Navajo Nation prohibits alcohol on the reservation. The legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in New Mexico is a 0.08 blood-alcohol content.

Dayzie faces a maximum of eight years in prison during a sentencing hearing that has not been scheduled.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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