Woman gets probation for involuntary manslaughter of Lower Brule man

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PIERRE — A woman was sentenced last week to five years probation and ordered to pay more than $11,000 in restitution for her role in the 2018 crash that killed a Lower Brule man.

Kiya Rojas pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to a federal charge of the involuntary manslaughter of 26-year-old Rolland Grassrope, and she was sentenced April 20.

On July 9, 2018, according to a factual basis statement filed Jan. 14, Rojas was driving on State Highway 47, within the Lower Brule reservation, while Grassrope was a passenger in the vehicle. A crash reconstruction expert with the South Dakota Highway Patrol determined Rojas had been driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone when she lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll into a ditch, killing Grassrope.

Rojas, an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe whose place of residence is not listed in court documents, was indicted for involuntary manslaughter in July 2019. She was alleged to have caused Grassrope's death by operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.

Under federal law, involuntary manslaughter occurs when an lawful act — such as driving — is committed without malice in an unlawful way and results in a person's death.


Rojas was ordered to pay $11,229.70 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Of that restitution, $7,229.70 was ordered to be paid to one of Grassrope's relatives, and the remaining $4,000 is to be paid to the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.

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