Tucson, Arizona - On Aug. 15, 2016, Monique Pablo-Johnson, 47, of Sells, Ariz., a member of Tohono O’odham Indian Nation, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez to 11 years in custody. Pablo-Johnson had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
On June 6, 2013, Pablo-Johnson was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine while driving on SR 86, near Sells, on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Pablo-Johnson had three passengers in the car: her 25-year-old daughter, 7-week-old granddaughter, and adult male cousin. Pablo-Johnson was driving extremely recklessly, well over the speed limit and on the wrong side of the road. As an oncoming vehicle drew near, Pablo-Johnson swerved to her side of the road and lost control. Her car flew off of the road and struck the side of a hill. Pablo-Johnson’s daughter and granddaughter were ejected from the vehicle as they were not wearing seatbelts nor in a child restraint seat, and died from their injuries at the scene. Pablo-Johnson moved from the driver’s seat to the front passenger seat after the crash, and falsely claimed to the police that her daughter was the driver at the time of the crash.
At sentencing, Judge Marquez sentenced the Pablo-Johnson to eight (8) years of imprisonment for the death of Pablo-Johnson’s seven-week-old granddaughter and three (3) more consecutive years for the death of her daughter. In pronouncing the sentence, the Judge noted that her job was to protect the public from incapacitated drivers like Pablo-Johnson and to warn others that that there are consequences for driving while impaired.
The investigation in this case was conducted by Tohono O’odham Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Serra M. Tsethlikai, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.