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Man flees in stolen car after being tased

Eric Benally allegedly resisted arrest and threatened police officers with a rock during a traffic stop.

Joshua Kellogg
jkellogg@daily-times.com
Eric Benally

FARMINGTON — A Farmington man is accused of resisting arrest, threatening police officers with a rock and leading them on a chase in in a stolen car.

Eric Benally, 26, faces eight charges, including two felony aggravated assault upon a peace officer counts and a felony auto theft charge, court records say.

The charges stem from a traffic stop around 1:30 p.m. April 17 near North Butler Avenue and East Apache Street, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Police and court documents give the following account:

The woman driving the vehicle told officers she picked up Benally hitchhiking, and he offered $20 for the ride. An officer spotted Benally riding in the back seat without a seatbelt and pulled the woman over. After Benally gave the officer a fake name, the officer tried to arrest him, but Benally started to resist.

The officer then attempted to handcuff Benally, who turned around and tried to pull his arm back from officer's grip.

Benally then began yelling and slapping the hands of the officer and broke free. He ran, then turned to face officers "in a fighter's stance," according to court documents.

One officer unholstered his taser and pointed it at Benally, who lunged toward the officer with his right fist wound back.

The officer shot Benally with the taser, which "locked up (Benally)'s body as he fell backwards," according to court documents.

Benally then got up and started to run. The officer activated the taser again as Benally was running. Benally screamed as the taser was activated but kept running, according to court documents.

After a brief foot chase, an officer thought Benally was reaching for a rock. The officer then sprayed pepper-spray in Benally's face.

Benally then picked up a rock and acted as if he were going to throw it at the officers. An officer unholstered his pistol and pointed it at Benally, who tried to run away again.

Benally then jumped into the driver seat of car that had been pulled over. An officer pepper-sprayed Benally in the face before he sped away.

He drove north on North Butler Avenue as officers pursued, according to court documents. It was unknown when officers broke off the pursuit, but the owner of the car found the vehicle later that day at a gas station in Shiprock.

Georgette Allen, Farmington police spokeswoman, said police identified Benally by his tattoos.

Benally faces two unrelated counts of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer filed in Farmington Magistrate Court on April 19 and 14, according to court records.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m May 3.

Benally remains in custody at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center without bond.

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

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