Police: Woman flees DWI stop in handcuffs

Steve Garrison

FARMINGTON — Police allege a 34-year-old woman abandoned her vehicle and children earlier this week when she fled a DWI traffic stop in handcuffs.

Roderica Mitchell was charged Monday in Aztec Magistrate Court with child abuse, escape from a peace officer, fourth-offense drunken driving and several other misdemeanor offenses.

As of Thursday, she had not retained legal representation, according to court records.

An officer with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management stopped a vehicle occupied by four adults and three children shortly after midnight on Sunday in the area of north Foothills Drive and Colibri Place north of Farmington, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

A deputy with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was called to the scene to assist with a drunken driving investigation, the affidavit states.

The driver of the vehicle identified herself as Erica Clyde, but the children in the vehicle identified the woman as Mitchell, and the vehicle was registered to Mitchell, according to the affidavit.

Police noted in the affidavit Mitchell had alcohol on her breath, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The woman failed a field sobriety test and was placed in handcuffs at the scene, according to the affidavit. Officers searched the vehicle and located an open bottle of vodka in the backseat near the children.

While police waited for a tow truck, one of the occupants of the vehicle, 48-year-old Arnold Bryant, ran into the hills, the affidavit states.

The deputy began to chase him, but then realized he should stay with Mitchell and the children, according to the affidavit. When he returned to the scene, he discovered Mitchell had escaped his squad car by jumping out the backseat window, the affidavit states.

Bryant was found a short time later, but Mitchell remained missing.

A neighbor in the area called police about an hour and a half after Mitchell's disappearance and reported a woman had approached the residence in handcuffs and asked for help, according to the affidavit. The neighbor told police the woman claimed her boyfriend was holding her hostage, and the neighbor agreed to help by cutting the chain on the handcuffs.

The neighbor said the woman fled the scene after the handcuffs were removed, the affidavit states.

Sheriff's office detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln said Thursday Mitchell was arrested Monday after a police officer spotted her at a residence on West Apache Street in Farmington.

Mitchell's bond was set at $35,000. A preliminary examination hearing was scheduled for July 7.

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