Fruitland man accused of eighth DWI after juvenile operated vehicle interlock

The defendant's seventh DWI conviction was in Sept. 2015

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Damon Begay, 46, is accused of a second-degree felony count of DWI (eighth or subsequent) along with a petty misdemeanor count of an open container, according to the criminal complaint.
  • Begay is accused of having a 0.27 and 0.28 blood alcohol content, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 in New Mexico.
  • He was booked on April 7 into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center and released two days later.

FARMINGTON — A Fruitland man is accused of his eighth DWI after a juvenile girl said she operated a vehicle’s ignition interlock device so he could drive a pickup truck to the Farmington Goodwill store.

Damon Begay, 46, is accused of a second-degree felony count of DWI (eighth or subsequent) along with a petty misdemeanor count of an open container, according to the criminal complaint.

The defendant did not have legal representation on the morning of April 20.

A Farmington Police Department detective responded to a DWI call around 10:22 a.m. on April 17 to the Goodwill parking lot at 1861 N. Hutton Ave. 

Begay was seen in a tan pickup truck, sleeping in the driver’s seat with the vehicle running, according to a court document. A juvenile girl appeared to be entering or exiting the vehicle as the detective arrived on scene.

The detective wrote he could tell Begay was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Damon Begay

Begay told the detective he didn’t consume any alcohol that day.

An open can of Bud Light beer was found in a cup holder and an empty alcohol “shooter” bottle was found in the backseat.

The defendant got out of the vehicle to speak to the detective but started to walk away in the middle of the conversation, a court document stated.

Begay was arrested for alleged open container and resisting arrest at the time, but police did not pursue the resisting charge later on.

The juvenile girl told police she operated the interlock device so Begay could drive her to the business.

Begay was transported to the Farmington Police Department, where the detective performed a sobriety test on him.

The defendant allegedly gave up on the sobriety test after becoming frustrated with his performance, according to court documents. 

Begay is accused of having a 0.27 and 0.28 blood alcohol content, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 in New Mexico.

The defendant’s seventh DWI conviction occurred on Sept. 28, 2015, and resulted in him pleading no contest to a third-degree felony, according to court documents.

His first DWI conviction was on Feb. 9, 1996 in McKinley District Court.

He was booked on April 7 into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center and released two days later.

Begay’s preliminary hearing is set for the morning of April 28 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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