Fruitland man receives three-year sentence for assault

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Fruitland man was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to assault. The charge stemmed from an auto accident in 2018.

Harry Jim Jr. was sentenced on Dec. 3 in federal court in Albuquerque, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jim, 36, was arrested on July 13, 2018 on a criminal complaint that charged him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement personnel responded to a report of a two-vehicle crash at mile marker 89 on U.S. Highway 491 at approximately 1:23 p.m. on July 7, 2018.

An investigation determined that Jim was driving under the influence when operating a black 2005 Chevrolet SUV that struck a maroon 2014 Chrysler Town and Country Van on the highway south of Shiprock.

The complaint states that Jim used the SUV to follow his girlfriend, who was on foot and running away from him.

The girlfriend ran across the four-lane highway and Jim followed her, but he did not stop at a stop sign before entering the highway.

He crossed the two southbound lanes and hit the van as it moved in a northbound lane.

The collision sent both vehicles off the highway. In the process, the SUV hit a streetlight, knocking it off its base and it landed on top of the vehicle.

Witnesses told law enforcement that they saw Jim move from the driver seat to the passenger seat after the crash.

In addition, they told officers that they heard Jim's girlfriend yelling at him, stating that they should leave the area.

There were four passengers in the van and each one was transported to the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock.

Each one reported various levels of pain and were treated for injuries, but a male passenger suffered a broken left femur and a finger. He was later transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington.

Jim was taken to the hospital in Shiprock as well. His blood was drawn for medical purposes and revealed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.387 – four times the legal limit in New Mexico.

He suffered an injury to his right eye and was eventually transferred to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

In an interview with a Navajo Nation criminal investigator at the UNM hospital, Jim said that he had been drinking beer all day and was trying to "catch up" to his girlfriend with his vehicle when he collided with another vehicle.

He pleaded guilty in a plea agreement on June 13 in federal court in Albuquerque, according to court documents.

Jim will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison sentence.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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Closeup of gavel in court room.