Neopit woman sentenced in OWI case

Passenger died in crash
By: 

Kevin Murphy, Leader Correspondent

A Neopit woman who caused the death of a passenger and serious injuries to another by driving drunk and crashing into a tree in August was sentenced Monday in federal court to nine years in prison.

District Judge William Griesbach sentenced Ashley E. Kitchenakow, 27, to six years for involuntary manslaughter and three years for reckless endangerment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Roach asked for a 10-year sentence but called the nine-year term “fair” and “in the ballpark.”

“(Kitchenakow) created a disregard for human life by getting behind the wheel of the car after she had been drinking,” Roach said.

She also had two prior OWI convictions in tribal court, Roach noted.

The Aug. 28 accident took the life of Shiann Anderson, 28, who was found by Menominee Tribal Police at the crash scene at N3440 state Highway 47. She was pinned under the dashboard and unresponsive, and died shortly after authorities arrived.

Shawano County Medical Examiner Pat Roberts indicated Anderson suffered a broken neck and severe brain trauma.

Kitchenakow admitted to drinking before the accident, and told law enforcement that she drank from a bottle of vodka and smoked marijuana on the day of the accident.

A male passenger in the car said he was not drinking that evening but Kitchenakow and others were.

Kitchenakow was “really drunk” as she drove to an area of the Menominee Indian Reservation known as White City, said the man, whose injuries left him partially paralyzed.

Kitchenakow was swerving all over the road and driving between 30 and 50 mph, according to the man. He said Kitchenakow passed a semi-truck and encountered a vehicle headed in their direction when she lost control of the vehicle, struck the curb and then a tree.

Tribal police identified Kitchenakow from the crashed vehicle’s license plate and located her at her Riverview Road home within hours of the crash. She was arrested and transported to Shawano Medical Center, where her blood tested .154 blood-alcohol concentration, nearly twice the prohibited limit.

Kitchenakow’s attorney, Henry Schultz, of Crandon, sought a three-year sentence, saying she has sought alcohol abuse treatment, maintained employment and showed remorse for the accident.

However, Griesbach concluded Kitchenakow’s actions warranted a longer sentence given the loss of life and serious injury she caused.