Fruitland resident facing several charges for allegedly hitting 49-year-old woman with truck before driving away

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FARMINGTON — A Fruitland man has been accused of allegedly striking a woman with his truck at a Walmart store and driving away from the scene without stopping.

Leonard Palmer, 30, is facing two third-degree felony and eight petty misdemeanor charges for allegedly hitting a 49-year-old woman on the south side of the Walmart at 1400 W. Main St., according to the criminal complaint.

Steve Murphy, Palmer's attorney, declined to comment on the case, stating he had not received any evidence from the San Juan County District Attorney's Office.

Officers for the Farmington Police Department were dispatched to the Walmart at 10:48 p.m. on March 25 in response to a report of a woman struck by a dark-colored Chevrolet pickup truck, according to the statement of probable cause.

The woman was found with abrasions on the left side of her face and a "large amount of blood" coming out of her left ear, according to court documents. She was also diagnosed with rib fractures and abrasions to her left leg after she was transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center, according to the statement.

Officers reviewed security camera footage from Walmart and observed a dark-colored truck sporting a Z71 logo being chased by one of the witnesses at the scene. The footage did not show the truck striking the women, according to court documents.

The truck was later tracked to the Wendy's location at 2610 W. Main St. The vehicle then left the restaurant's parking lot and turned west on Main Street after an officer pulled his patrol vehicle into the parking lot.

Officers observed the driver of the truck struggling to stay in one lane of traffic and swerving. The driver, later identified as Palmer, according to police, allegedly sped away from the officers, reaching speeds of more than 75 mph, according to court documents.

After an officer triggered the patrol vehicle's emergency lights, Palmer turned north on Troy King Road and pulled to the side of the road. Palmer told officers he was driving home from Buffalo Wild Wings in Farmington after "finishing a few drinks," according to the probable cause statement.

The officers observed that Palmer's eyes were bloodshot, and his breath had a moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage, per the court documents. Palmer denied visiting the Walmart and Wendy's, stating he was only driving home.

He was arrested after officers performed a field sobriety test. Palmer's blood-alcohol content registered around 0.19/0.20 at the detention center, according to court documents, well in excess of the legal limit of 0.8.

Palmer was released on bond on March 26, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on April 12 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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