Suspect already has 6 DWI convictions

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FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man is accused of his seventh DWI charge after he was arrested at a Kirtland auto parts store.

Rex Yazzie, 53, was arrested on Feb. 2 and charged with a third-degree felony count of DWI, according to court records.

Sarah Field, Yazzie's public defender, declined comment on the case.

A deputy for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was dispatched around 1:37 p.m. on Feb. 2 to the Auto Zone store at 4180 U.S. Highway 64 in Kirtland on reports of a male extremely intoxicated who drove into the parking lot of the store, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The witness told dispatchers he was afraid the man was going to drive away.

When the deputy arrived at the scene, the man later identified as Yazzie appeared to be falling asleep in the passenger side of the white pickup truck with the keys in his hands, according to court documents.

The deputy observed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage when Yazzie rolled down the window of the vehicle and noticed Yazzie had bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech.

Yazzie initially claimed he was not driving the vehicle and that his sister had gone to get gas from the Giant gas station nearby because the car wouldn't start.

The pickup truck started when Yazzie turned the ignition at the request of the deputy, and Yazzie later told deputies he had no one coming for him, according to court documents.

A witness told deputies she saw Yazzie drive the white pickup truck into the parking lot and that he almost struck a pedestrian when the vehicle made a wide turn.

Yazzie later told deputies he did drive the vehicle into the parking lot but that he had not consumed any alcoholic beverages since he got there.

A search of Yazzie's criminal history showed six DWI convictions between 1987 and 2007, the affidavit states.

He was arrested and accused of refusing a breathalyzer test. A search warrant was obtained to draw Yazzie's blood, according to court documents.

The San Juan County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to hold Yazzie with no bond pending trial. A hearing regarding the motion is set for 3 p.m. Monday in Aztec District Court.

His preliminarily hearing is set for 1 p.m. Thursday in Aztec Magistrate Court.

Yazzie was incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center this afternoon on no-bond hold.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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