Police arrest man after high-speed chase

Steve Garrison
James Edward Byrd

FARMINGTON – A 37-year-old man was arrested Sunday on suspicion he led police on a high-speed chase through Upper Fruitland while intoxicated.

James Byrd was charged Monday in Aztec Magistrate Court with aggravated fleeing, possession of a firearm by a felon, conspiracy to commit larceny and drunken driving, a second offense, among other lesser offenses.

According to court records, Byrd is being held without bond at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

At about 5 a.m. Sunday, a New Mexico State Police sergeant observed a red Pontiac passenger car speeding onto Navajo Route 36 from an unidentified dirt road. The sergeant activated his lights and and chased the vehicle as it turned onto Navajo Route 363.

The car fled down the dirt road for 6 miles at speeds of 40 to 50 mph, according to the affidavit. The vehicle then reversed course and turned west back onto Navajo Route 36, the affidavit states.

An officer was eventually able to disable the vehicle with stop sticks near mile marker 19 on Navajo Route 36, but the driver and passenger fled on foot, according to the affidavit.

Officers were able to catch one suspect, who was identified as Byrd, the affidavit states. Byrd smelled like alcohol and had bloodshot eyes, according to the affidavit. His blood was drawn at the San Juan Regional Medical Center.

In the back seat of the vehicle, officers located a loaded shotgun with a scratched-off serial number and a .40 caliber handgun that was registered as stolen from Santa Fe, according to the affidavit.

Louie Sanchez

In another high-speed chase, Louie Salome Sanchez was arrested Jan. 28 on suspicion he fled deputies from the San Juan County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 28.

Sanchez, 35, of Albuquerque, was charged Monday in Aztec Magistrate Court with aggravated battery, aggravated fleeing, two counts of vehicle theft, conspiracy to damage insured property and two counts of battery upon a peace officer, among other offenses.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.