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Defendant had 0.258 blood alcohol content


FARMINGTON — A Sanostee man admitted to killing his brother and severely injuring his two-year-old son when he crashed the vehicle he was driving near Littlewater.

Tavis Washburn, 27, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child abuse in Albuquerque federal court on July 12, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Washburn was intoxicated and driving a passenger car on the night of Feb. 15, 2018, on U.S. Highway 491 when he crashed the car into a Black GMC pickup truck that was turning onto the road, according to court documents.

His blood alcohol content was 0.258. Alcohol is prohibited on the Navajo Nation and the BAC limit for New Mexico is 0.08.

The defendant stated he was at his brother's residence in Sanostee earlier in the day drinking alcohol including about half a pint of vodka.

The brother wanted to get his EBT card from Shiprock and Washburn drove them to Shiprock, drinking an alcoholic beverage on the drive.

Washburn was in a hurry to get back to Sanostee to pick up his "common law wife" from work and was driving around 75 to 80 MPH south bound on the highway.

He was driving about 15 MPH over the speed limit when he collided with the pickup truck near the Littlewater Express store, east of Sanostee.  

The brother was flown to San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, where he died from the injuries he sustained in the crash.

The son was flown to Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, where he was treated for a broken leg, fractured arm, liver lacerations and two collapsed lungs.

Washburn was also transported to the Shiprock hospital for injuries but no injuries are detailed in the court documents.

The defendant could face from five years and one month to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced.

A date for the sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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