A Rio Rancho man’s attempts to play firefighter ended abruptly Tuesday morning after he crashed a stolen Corrales firetruck in Grants, but not before taking a joy ride – complete with lights and sirens – across three counties. He even talked on the radio with pursuers during the chase.
The incident started Tuesday morning when the Corrales Fire Department responded to a medical call in the area of Applewood Road and Seven Bar Ranch. After about a half hour on scene firefighters radioed that one of their trucks had been stolen.
Local law enforcement agencies were put on alert but finding the stolen truck was not that hard since the thief was driving with full lights and sirens. “We started getting reports that it was seen in Albuquerque driving a high rate of speed,” Corrales Fire Commander Tanya Lattin told KOB news. “We were very concerned for the safety of people, and its lights and sirens are going. We were very concerned about the possibility it might try to drive down the wrong side of the road.”
Laguna Police soon located the truck westbound on I-40. State police joined the pursut and deployed a stop stick near mile marker 114 to flatten the tires. With a flat tire and heavy vehicle full of water and equipment, the truck did not last long. “He continued to drive west on Interstate 40, exiting off the Interstate at exit 108. He then drove into the parking lot of the Dancing Eagle Gas Station, where he crashed into a wall. After the crash, [the driver] exited the vehicle and ignored numerous verbal commands given by officers to surrender peacefully. Officers were able to take him into custody,” said Officer Dusty Francisco of the New Mexico State Police.
Dennis L. Chavez, 35, of Rio Rancho was arrested and charged with Receiving or Transferring a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Aggravated Fleeing from a Law Enforcement Officer
Resisting, Evading, or Obstruction of a Peace Officer, and Criminal Damage to Property (Under $1,000). Chavez also had an outstanding felony arrest warrant for stealing a vehicle in Bernalillo County.
Watch video of the chase and video courtesy of the New Mexico State Police.
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