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Lionel Chavez

Oct. 19, 3:58 am

McKinley County Sheriff Deputy Roane Alan was on patrol when he received a call that said sheriff’s office deputies were dispatched to the 44-mile marker of I-40 in reference to a stolen vehicle that was being followed by the registered owner.

As Alan responded to the call, he heard from Metro Dispatch how a green car had gotten off I-40 onto Highway 118 and then back onto I-40 near exit 33 and was now traveling west in the eastbound lane.

Alan told Dispatch he was stationary at the 26-mile marker and proceeded to get the Nissan Sentra to stop after it passed him. The Sentra continued to travel west in the eastbound lane of I-40 and nearly caused a head-on collision with a number of other vehicles. The suspect vehicle eventually stopped near the 21-mile marker.

After the car stopped, the driver got out and began to run to the south to escape MCSO deputies. Alan was able to catch up to the suspect as he tried to climb a fence, and he and Deputy Clayton Etsitty were able to handcuff the suspect, identified as Lionel Chavez, 27, no address given.

As Alan placed Chavez in his unit, he noted Chavez had slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol.

Alan made contact with the owner of the stolen car, Raquel Delgarito, who said Chavez had been in her residence in Thoreau. After she told him where the keys were, she said he took off with it. Delgarito then ran to her neighbor’s house and that was when they started to follow Chavez and put the call into Dispatch.

Chavez fell in and out of sleep as Alan spoke with him. Chavez refused to answer any questions about the vehicle and also refused the standard field sobriety test.

As Delgarito filled out a witness statement, Chavez was run through the National Crime Information Center. The return stated Chavez had two active warrants for his arrest and he is a suspended driver. Delgarito had a friend drive the recovered vehicle to her aunt’s house in Gallup.

After being cleared by EMS for a minor hand injury, Chavez was transported to McKinley County Adult Detention Center and booked.