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A Fort Kipp woman pled guilty to killing a man with her vehicle.

JoAnna Sayetsitty, 35, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging her with involuntary manslaughter.

Sayetsitty was driving the vehicle that caused the death of 41-year-old Lakota Thomas First on August 22, 2019. Both were in Fort Kipp at the time of the incident.

In August 2019, law enforcement responded to a call of a dead body found in a wheat field south of Fort Kipp, on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The individual, Lakota Thomas First, was eventually identified after law enforcement posted a description of his clothing on social media. Officers interviewed Sayetsitty, who had been in a relationship with First, at her residence, court documents state.

Police discovered front-end damage to Sayetsitty’s Suburban SUV and found a piece of material matching First’s clothing hanging from the vehicle.

The government further alleged that Sayetsitty told officers that on the evening she last saw First, they had been driving around the area, drinking alcohol and listening to music. Both began arguing, First got out of the car and Sayetsitty drove away from where he was standing in the field. Sayetsitty told officers multiple times that she was the only driver of the vehicle, court documents state.

Officers impounded the vehicle and, pursuant to a search warrant, found evidence from the undercarriage that matched First’s DNA, documents state.

An autopsy determined that First died of blunt force injuries typical of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle. Sayetsitty admitted to driving reckless and causing First’s death.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy A. Johnson is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice, and the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.

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