Drunk Driver Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Second Degree Murder

Learn about the recent court ruling sentencing Derwin Davis Tsosie Jr. to 12 years in prison for second-degree murder due to driving drunk at 135 mph, causing a fatal accident and severe injuries. This case emphasizes the consequences of drunk driving and the need for strict enforcement.

In a recent court ruling, Derwin Davis Tsosie, Jr., a 26-year-old resident of Tuba City, Arizona, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for second-degree murder. Tsosie was driving at an excessive speed of 135 miles per hour under the influence of alcohol when he collided with another vehicle, resulting in the death of the driver and severe injuries to the passenger. With a blood alcohol concentration of .323, more than four times the legal limit, Tsosie’s reckless actions highlight the devastating consequences of drunk driving. This case underscores the importance of strict enforcement and raises awareness about the severe penalties associated with driving under the influence.

Background Information

Overview of the Case

In the case of Derwin Davis Tsosie, Jr., a 26-year-old resident of Tuba City, Arizona, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for Second Degree Murder. The sentencing took place on August 17, 2023, by United States District Judge Douglas L. Rayes.

Description of the Crime

On November 14, 2022, Tsosie was driving at an extremely high speed of approximately 135 miles per hour when he crashed into the victims’ car from behind. The driver of the other vehicle was killed instantly, and the passenger was left with serious injuries. Tsosie’s actions resulted in devastating consequences.

Investigation Details

Following the incident, law enforcement agencies, including the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, initiated an investigation. These agencies worked together to gather evidence, reconstruct the scene of the crime, and collect witness statements. The investigation aimed to establish the facts surrounding the accident and determine any contributing factors.

Sentencing Details

Length of Prison Sentence

Derwin Davis Tsosie, Jr. was sentenced to 12 years in prison for Second Degree Murder. This sentence reflects the severity of his actions and the tragic consequences they caused.

Terms of Supervised Release

In addition to the prison sentence, Tsosie will serve five years of supervised release. During this period, he will be closely monitored and required to abide by certain terms and conditions set by the court. These terms are intended to assist in his rehabilitation and to ensure public safety upon his release.

Defendant Profile

Name and Age

The defendant in this case is Derwin Davis Tsosie, Jr., a 26-year-old resident of Tuba City, Arizona.

Residence and Tribal Affiliation

Tsosie is a resident of Tuba City, a community located on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation. He is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, making him subject to both tribal and federal laws.

Previous DUI Arrest

At the time of the incident, Tsosie’s license was suspended due to a previous arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). This prior arrest highlights a dangerous pattern of behavior and raises questions about Tsosie’s disregard for the law and the safety of others.

Blood Alcohol Concentration

Exceeding the Legal Limit

Tsosie’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the accident was measured at .323, which is more than four times the legal limit. This level of intoxication demonstrates a profound disregard for the safety and lives of others.

Implications on Driving Ability

A BAC of .323 significantly impairs an individual’s motor skills, reaction time, and judgment. At this level of intoxication, it is highly unlikely that Tsosie would have been able to operate a vehicle safely and responsibly. His actions highlight the dangers of drunk driving and the devastating consequences it can have.

Impact on Victims

Fatality and Injury

The crash caused by Tsosie’s reckless behavior resulted in the death of the driver of the other vehicle. Additionally, the passenger of the vehicle suffered serious injuries that will have long-lasting physical and emotional effects. The impact on the victims and their families cannot be understated, as their lives were forever changed by Tsosie’s actions.

Emotional and Physical Consequences

Beyond the immediate physical injuries, the victims and their families will also face emotional and psychological trauma. These consequences can include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions. The emotional toll on the victims and their loved ones should not be overlooked.

Jurisdiction and Investigation

Navajo Nation Indian Reservation

The crime in question occurred on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation. The reservation is governed by both tribal and federal law, making this case a unique interplay between Navajo tribal courts, law enforcement, and the federal justice system.

Law Enforcement Agencies Involved

To investigate this case thoroughly, multiple law enforcement agencies were involved. The Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Federal Bureau of Investigation worked collaboratively to gather evidence and ensure a comprehensive investigation. The cooperation between these agencies highlights the commitment to justice and public safety.


United States Attorney’s Office

The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution of Derwin Davis Tsosie, Jr. Their role was to present the evidence to the court, advocate for justice, and ensure that Tsosie faced the appropriate legal consequences for his actions.

Handling of the Case

The prosecution of this case demonstrates the commitment of the United States Attorney’s Office to hold individuals accountable for their crimes. The coordination and presentation of evidence were conducted with professionalism and attention to detail, seeking justice for the victims and their families.

Case Number and Release Information

Case Number

The case involving Derwin Davis Tsosie, Jr. is identified by the case number CR 23-8019-PCT-DLR. This number serves as a unique identifier within the court system and facilitates the efficient handling of the case.

Release Number

The release number associated with this case is 2023-124_Tsosie. This number is used for administrative tracking purposes and serves as a reference for the records related to Tsosie’s release from custody.

Impact on Communities and Awareness

Need for Awareness and Prevention

Cases like this highlight the critical need for awareness and prevention efforts surrounding drunk driving. The devastating consequences of Tsosie’s actions underscore the importance of educating individuals about the dangers of driving under the influence and promoting responsible decision-making.

Community Response and Support

Following this tragic incident, it is essential for communities to come together to support the victims and their families. Community organizations, local government agencies, and tribal leaders should work collaboratively to provide necessary resources, support networks, and raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

Contact Information

Public Affairs Contact

For further information or inquiries regarding this case, please contact the Public Affairs Office. Zach J. Stoebe can be reached at (602) 514-7413 or via email at zachry.stoebe@usdoj.gov. The Public Affairs Office will provide accurate and up-to-date information to the public and the media.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Website and Social Media

For additional updates, information, and resources, please visit the official website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, at http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/. The website provides valuable information about the office, its mission, and its work. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office can be followed on Twitter at @USAO_AZ for the latest news and updates.