Shiprock man pleads guilty to hitting BIA special agent, fleeing in high-speed chase

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — A Shiprock man who led officers on a high-speed chase in January has pleaded guilty to assault on a federal officer involving physical contact, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Derrick Begay, 33, pleaded guilty on Nov. 6 to hitting a Bureau of Indian Affairs official with his hand before fleeing the scene in a vehicle, resulting in a high-speed chase.

A federal special agent with the BIA approached Begay on Jan. 22 on the side of the road near Shiprock High School. According to the press release, the special agent requested that Begay exit his vehicle, but he did not comply.

During the interaction, Begay lunged out of the vehicle at the special agent and struck the special agent in the face with his hand, the press release states. He then fled the scene in the vehicle and was pursued by law enforcement officers.

The ensuing high-speed chase reached speeds faster than 100 miles per hour. The press release states that law enforcement called off the chase due to weather conditions as well as concerns for public safety as school buses were on the roadway.

Begay was arrested on May 1 and is currently in custody pending sentencing. He faces up to eight years in prison.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: