Farmington, NM – At approximately 1:49 p.m. today, dispatch received a report of a reckless driver in a red truck traveling westbound on Highway 64 in the area of Waterflow. The subject was speeding and tailgating other drivers on the road. A sergeant with the Farmington Police Department saw the vehicle as it approached Farmington. The subject continued to tailgate drivers, was using the shoulder of the road to pass vehicles and was traveling at speeds of over 90 mph.
For the safety of the citizens, officers shut down the Apache and Main Street areas in an attempt to stop the subject. However, he again used the shoulder to pass other vehicles and avoid the road closure. Due to the subject endangering citizens with his erratic driving, Farmington police initiated a pursuit in accordance with the department’s policy. The subject continued to travel eastbound on Main Street, turned north onto Gower Road and then west onto Apache. He then drove into a funeral home parking lot and through the gate of the new Sonic Drive-In and back out onto Main Street. From there, the subject traveled west on Main and turned south on Gooding Lane, which is a dead-end road in a residential area. The subject weaved around the residential area, almost striking a pedestrian, then continued south until he drove off an embankment, 74 feet, into a farmer’s pasture. The vehicle landed in an irrigation ditch and became disabled. The subject exited the vehicle and ran south into a wooded area. Officers set up a perimeter and within approximately five minutes, located the subject and placed him into custody.
The individual has been identified as 20-year-old Richard Lovato from Bernalillo, New Mexico. The truck he was driving was reported stolen out of Albuquerque. Lovato was taken into custody at approximately 2:10 p.m. and transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center. He is being charged with aggravated fleeing, possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting and obstructing, criminal damage to property, drive while intoxicated (1st offense), drug offenses and traffic violations. He will be booked in the San Juan County Detention Center.