Kevin Ryan Upshaw Jr. of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation has been charged with manslaughter following a Monday crash that killed a 5-year-old girl on a bike.
Upshaw Jr., who manages or owns a rodeo-security business on the rural reservation north of Tucson, was drunk when his full-size 4x4 pickup plowed into the girl on a residential street in Peridot, according to a federal complaint filed on Tuesday.
The name of the girl wasn't released. A dispatcher at the San Carlos Apache Police Department tells New Times that no one is available for comment on the incident. Clearly, this is a major tragedy for the close-knit tribal Peridot district community on the rez. The San Carlos reservation counts just over 9,000 total residents.
Tribe member Upshaw Jr. and a passenger were driving at an unknown speed on West LaBumba Road just before 6:30 p.m. when the truck hit the girl, records state. No brakes were applied upon impact, authorities with the police department and Bureau of Indian Affairs determined, making it impossible to tell how fast Upshaw Jr. had been traveling.
With the passenger urging him to stop, the driver finally pulled over about 200 feet down the road. Both men inside jumped out to see if they could help the girl, who was lying in a pool of blood. A witness told police that one of the men removed a 30-pack of beer from the vehicle and placed it near a fence.
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The girl was flown to a hospital in the Phoenix metro area, but she died en route in the helicopter.
Meanwhile, Upshaw Jr., whom police found "near the child and crying hysterically," became combative and had to be handcuffed when told his blood would be taken for the DUI investigation. The report says Upshaw Jr. smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and was "staggering" when he walked. The suspect admitted he'd been driving, that he'd consumed 10 beers before the crash, and even that he'd tried to leave the scene after striking the girl, records state.
Cops had trouble taking a blood sample from Upshaw Jr. First, they took him to the San Carlos Medical Center, where a doctor told police it was hospital policy not to do so, even if the suspect consented. So they took him next to a detention facility, but personnel failed to get a sample "due to the size of Upshaw's arms." Then they drove to hospital in Globe, where a blood sample was finally taken just before 1 a.m.
The complaint charges Upshaw Jr. with one federal count of involuntary manslaughter.