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Three Pine Ridge reservation men found in 60-feet ravine died of auto accident, investigation finds

OGLALA, S.D. -- Three men who were missing for days on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and discovered in a vehicle in a 60-foot deep ravine have been found to have died from an automobile crash, U.S. attorney Randy Seiler announced on Friday.

OGLALA, S.D. -- Three men who were missing for days on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and discovered in a vehicle in a 60-foot deep ravine have been found to have died from an automobile crash,  U.S. attorney Randy Seiler announced on Friday.

Seiler said an extensive investigation by several agencies and autopsies “firmly establishes” that reservation residents Juan Lamont, Tevin Tyon and Tyrell Wilson died as a result of the crash.

Investigators found the vehicle in which the three men were riding left BIA Road No 41, also known as the “Chadron Road”, a few miles from Oglala, and plunged down a ravine about 60 feet deep where the car came to rest near a creek bed.

Seiler said the  three men were found inside the vehicle “amidst numerous open and closed containers of alcohol and other personal belongings.

“Their physical injuries, as well as the crushed condition of the vehicle, prevented any hope of them being able to exit the vehicle if any of them lived beyond the impact at the bottom of the ravine. It is very likely all three men died upon impact. All three men were examined by a forensic pathologist who concluded each of them suffered multiple critical injuries to their backs and heads resulting in their deaths. No signs of wounds consistent with bullets, knives or other weapons

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were detected.”

Seiler also said there was no damage to the vehicle that would suggest any other conclusion than “the vehicle sped off the road through a grassy field to the cliff where it went over and down into the ravine.”

Many tribal citizens and search and rescue officials joined in the hunt for the three men, including the Civilian Air Patrol and Pennington County Search and Rescue.

Investigating the accident besides the U.S. attorney’s office were the FBI,

the Pine Ridge office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Office of Justice Services and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety.

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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The investigation is ongoing.
“This is sensationalism at its finest, and it does not deserve to be heard in our state capitol,” Rep. Erin Healy, a Democrat and one of 10 votes against the bill in the 70-person chamber, said.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.