President’s daughter was arrested for DUI on April 22

FARMINGTON — The committee that enforces rules and regulations for Navajo Nation employees and appointees to operate tribal vehicles has suspended the driver’s permit for Karis Begaye.

Mihio Manus, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, confirmed Wednesday that Begaye’s driving privileges have been suspended  temporarily by the tribe’s Motor Vehicle Review Board.

Begaye is the daughter of Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, and she serves as legal counsel for the administration. She was arrested by the Arizona Department of Public Safety on April 22 and charged with driving under the influence, extreme DUI and endangerment, all misdemeanors, and criminal damage, a felony, according to court records.

Begaye told state police that she consumed two glasses of wine prior to driving her vehicle into approximately 40 feet of guard rail and colliding with a commercial vehicle on Interstate 17 near Flagstaff, Arizona, according to court records.

The Coconino County Attorney’s Office had not filed a complaint against Begaye as of Wednesday, according to the Flagstaff Justice Court.

She has been on administrative leave since May 7.

Manus said the board received a complaint about Begaye and assessed the suspension during a special meeting Tuesday in Window Rock, Arizona.

Board membership consists of two representatives each from the executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as the department manager for the tribe’s Fleet Management Department.

The board has the responsibility and power to authorize the assignment of tribal vehicles to employees and appointees, and to develop, implement and enforce rules and regulations for vehicle usage, according to the Navajo Nation Motor Vehicle Operator’s Handbook.

Board members also have the authority to conduct hearings to suspend or revoke driving permits or vehicle assignments, the handbook states.

Manus, who is a board member, said he was absent from the meeting on Tuesday because he was working with Vice President Jonathan Nez as he completes a run from Fort Sumner to Window Rock as part of the commemoration of the Treaty of 1868.

Manus said he was informed about Begaye’s suspension during the board’s regular meeting Wednesday.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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