Nashoanak pleads guilty to assault, drunk driving

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2002

Annabelle Nashoanak, accused of seriously injuring two of her children in a drunken-driving accident, pleaded guilty to felony assault and misdemeanor drunken driving this morning in Juneau Superior Court.

Nashoanak, 25, was indicted in December by a Juneau grand jury on two counts of first-degree assault, one count of third-degree assault, all felonies, and one count each of reckless endangerment and drunken driving, both misdemeanors.

The charges stemmed from a Dec. 21 accident in which her four children and estranged husband Travis Nashoanak were passengers.

Her son, 8, with colon injuries, and daughter, 6, with severe facial lacerations, were medevaced to a Seattle hospital and have since been released.

Travis Nashoanak was charged with four counts of reckless endangerment and drunken driving for allegedly giving his wife liquor while she drove. He is awaiting trial.

Annabelle Nashoanak, who pleaded innocent to all charges in December, was scheduled to go to trial Monday but changed her plea late this morning.

She pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and drunken driving with the understanding that imposition of her sentence would not be suspended. The sentence is to be set by the judge. All other counts against her will be dismissed, according to the plea agreement.

Judge Larry Weeks said a person convicted of felony assault can't get a suspended imposition of sentence, which refers to not sentencing the offender during a period of probation. But defense attorney Louis Menendez said he would argue for a suspended imposition of sentence anyway.

Menendez also told the court he may dispute Nashoanak's blood alcohol level, which according to court records was 0.323 shortly after the accident.

A blood alcohol level of 0.08 is considered proof of drunken driving.

Sentencing is set for July 25.

Nashoanak will return to Anchorage today to complete her in-patient alcohol treatment at the Deana Coy Prematernal Home. Nashoanak is nearly six months pregnant, court records say.

If convicted on all counts of the original indictment, Nashoanak would have faced a maximum of more than 20 years in prison. With the plea agreement she could get up to six years in prison.

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