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In the last week, two separate car accidents resulted in the deaths of two teenage Lakota women walking on the roadside in South Dakota.

Last night on August 9, a hit-and-run on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation left at least one teenage girl dead and another in critical condition, according to multiple reports on social media and an eye witness who wishes to remain anonymous.  

The witness told Native News Online that two teenage girls who lived in the community were walking near their home on Highway 27 after 9:30 pm and were hit by a vehicle that didn’t stop. One of the girls passed away, and another remains in critical condition. Law enforcement and the family have not released the name of the deceased victim, 

Native News Online reached out to the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and left several voicemails, but the department did not respond by the time of publication. 

Oglala’s Highway Safety Department was unable to confirm any details about the accident because it’s under active investigation. Native News Online reached out via email to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which retains criminal jurisdiction involving deaths on Indian lands in South Dakota but received no reply by press time. 

On Saturday, August 5, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) reported that a deceased person was found in the roadway near E. Highway 44 and Airport Road in Rapid City.

In their announcement, the PCSO also reported that the woman had appeared to have been run over by a vehicle, but did not identify the vehicle. The driver of a vehicle reported the incident and remains cooperative, according to the PCSO. PCSO confirmed on August 6 that the deceased was 19-year-old Patricia Brewer of Rapid City.

 PCOS Public Information Officer Helen Duhamel confirmed to Native News Online in a phone call that Brewer was Native American. Reports from others confirmed that Brewer was from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Over the last several months, the OST-DPS has made several announcements to the findings of human remains of missing people, shootings at schools and financial institutions, and a hit-and-run incident that resulted in a fatality on October 29, 2022.

Last year, the Oglala Sioux Tribe sued the federal government for failing to uphold its trust responsibility to the Tribe by providing adequate law enforcement on the 2.1 million-acre Pine Ridge Reservation. In May 2023, a federal court in South Dakota ruled in favor of the Tribe, acknowledging the reservation’s depleted police force and high crime rate and holding that the United States owes a treaty-based duty to fund law enforcement for the Oglala Sioux Tribe. 

This is a developing story. 

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About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online who is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.