Home Salt Lake City Press Releases 2013 Justin Hanley Bright Wings Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court

Justin Hanley Bright Wings Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 26, 2013
  • District of Montana (406) 657-6101

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings on February 26, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, Justin Hanley Bright Wings, a 27-year-old resident of Lodge Grass, pled guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Sentencing has been set for May 29, 2013. He is currently detained.

In an offer of proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

Justin Hanley Bright Wings is a 27 year old male and is an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe of Indians, a federally recognized tribe. The crime occurred within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation.

On June 9, 2012, at approximately noon, Bright Wings was driving a vehicle with five passengers, one of whom was his 11-month-old son. Bright Wings was drunk while driving and lost control of the vehicle on Highway 1, approximately one mile from the intersection of Hwy 1 and Hwy 313, south of Hardin. The vehicle rolled several times and ended up in an irrigation ditch. Bright Wings’ 11-month-old son suffered an epidural hematoma in his head (blood leaking into a layer of the tissue covering the brain) as a result of the wreck. The child was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, where he was treated.

Bright Wings’ blood was drawn shortly after the crash, and the FBI lab analyzed the blood. The FBI lab report indicates that the defendant’s BAC at 14:15 (approximately one hour after the crash), was 0.318. Using back-extrapolation calculations to estimate the BAC at the time of the crash, the FBI lab report estimates that the Bright Wings’ BAC at the time of the crash would have been approximately 0.34 (with a possible range of 0.33 to 0.35).

Bright Wings faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.