Man arrested in vehicle theft, police pursuit

Steve Garrison

FARMINGTON — A 32-year-old Albuquerque man was arrested Saturday on allegations he led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen pickup truck loaded with two stolen motorcycles.

Billy Ray Lewis

A New Mexico State Police officer spotted the Ford pickup truck at 5:18 p.m. Saturday as it headed west on U.S. Highway 64 near Bloomfield, according to arrest records.

The driver was not wearing a seat belt, records state, so the officer stopped the vehicle. The driver waited until the officer exited his vehicle, then sped off, according to records.

Police followed the vehicle as it continued west on U.S. 64, but did not initiate a pursuit due to heavy traffic, records state. The vehicle eventually circled back toward Bloomfield and headed south on U.S. Highway 550, where police were able to puncture the vehicle's tires with a spike strip, according to records.

The driver abandoned the truck in a sand wash near County Road 7675 and attempted to flee on foot, but he was arrested by San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies. The suspect was identified as Billy Ray Lewis. A female passenger was also found in the vehicle.

Lewis was charged Monday in Farmington Magistrate Court with aggravated fleeing, false imprisonment, three counts of receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle, drug paraphernalia possession and several traffic violations. His bond was set at $40,000.

He has not retained legal representation, according to court records. A preliminary examination hearing was scheduled for Aug. 24.

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