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South Dakota woman sentenced to 15 years for killing friend in drunken motorcycle crash

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A Rapid City woman received a 15-year prison sentence Tuesday, May 14, for killing her friend when she crashed a motorcycle trike while driving with more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system, the Rapid City Journal reported.

"Your actions killed a person," Judge Robert Gusinsky told Sophia Elbow Shield at the state court.

Gusinsky sentenced Elbow Shield to the maximum 15-year sentence, with seven years suspended, after she pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide for killing her passenger, 62-year-old Brian Minor, of Rapid City, on July 14, 2018, in Box Elder.

As part of the plea deal, the prosecution dismissed two DUI counts and charges of careless driving, driving with a suspended license and driving without a motorcycle license.

Elizabeth Regalado, Elbow Shield's defense lawyer, said her client described her friend as a good person, listener and advice-giver.

Arman Zeljkovic, a prosecutor with the Pennington County State's Attorney Office, said Elbow Shield was convicted of DUIs in 1999, 2014 and 2017 and hasn't expressed true remorse.

Minor, who died at the scene of the crash, was not drunk at the time of the accident but Elbow Shield had an "incredibly high" .284 blood alcohol content, Regalado said.