PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police identify suspect in DWI, officer involved shooting

Farmington, NM – On Sunday, September 6 at approximately 8:49 p.m. a citizen called 911 to report a white pickup truck had smashed through the gates of a business located at 3720 Herrera Rd. The witness reported seeing sparks flying and the vehicle dragging the gates more than 40 feet before fleeing at high speed on Herrera Road towards Main Street. The vehicle sustained extreme front end damage from crashing through the gates including a shattered windshield, bent hood and crushed radiator.

At about 8:50 p.m., three other witnesses called 911 to report the white truck had entered Main Street and was heading westbound in eastbound lanes of traffic. The truck was traveling at a high rate of speed with no headlights. One witness described the vehicle as having the hood bent so far up, the driver had to put his head out of the window in order to see. This same witness was also forced to swerve to avoid being hit head-on by the vehicle as it continued to drive in the wrong direction.

The witness turned around to follow the vehicle and saw it pull into the Shell gas station located at 3341 E. Main Street at about 8:51 p.m. Several witnesses then observed the suspect attempt to take an SUV, spraying the owner with gasoline before entering the vehicle in the drivers seat. The suspect then exited the SUV when he found it was occupied by the owners family.

Multiple witnesses called to report the suspect getting back in the stolen truck at 8:52 p.m. Several witnesses saw the suspect drive eastbound on Main Street then suddenly cut across all lanes of traffic to enter the Safeway parking lot. At approximately 8:53 p.m. another witness saw the suspect exit the Eye Mart parking lot located at 3450 E. Main St, shearing off a fire hydrant as it careened through the lot.

The suspect then began driving eastbound on Main Street in the westbound lanes of traffic at a high rate of speed. The witness described the suspect scattering vehicles ahead of him as they swerved to avoid a head-on collision. At about 8:54 p.m. the suspect turned into the Home Depot parking lot at Herrera and Main Street after forcing several vehicles off the road.

A witness reported having to swerve hard to avoid a head-on collision with the suspect. This same witness saw the suspect jump the curb out of the IHOP/Panda Express parking lot then drive over the grass and turn back onto Main Street. The witness saw the vehicle again turn and drive into opposing traffic and heading eastbound at a high rate of speed.

Some of the initial witnesses were still following the suspect and reporting his location as officers were being dispatched to intercept the suspect. At 8:55 p.m., less than six minutes after the first call, officers intercepted the vehicle on East Main near Hi-Country Kia located at 4004 E. Main St.

The suspect, who has been identified as Heriberto Nava-Martinez, was arrested on suspicion of DWI, theft of a vehicle and numerous traffic offenses. At 9:15 p.m. he was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of injuries sustained during the theft of the vehicle and for a blood draw pursuant to the DWI investigation. After Officer David Rock completed the DWI investigation, medical personnel moved the subject to another part of the hospital to continue their evaluation. At this time, the suspect launched an unprovoked attack on the officer and a violent struggle ensued. During the struggle, the officer shot the suspect. Per FPD policy, State Police were immediately contacted to assume the investigation of the incident at the hospital and the officer was placed on administrative leave. The suspect is being treated at SJRMC. Charges against Nava-Martinez will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Farmington Police Department would like to thank the citizens of Farmington, who came forward as witnesses in this case. It is because of the multiple reports from our outstanding community members, that we were able to apprehend the suspect before he caused harm to other drivers on the road.


Farmington Police Department recognized for their DWI enforcement efforts

Sgt. Karst with the Farmington Police Department accepting award
Sgt. Karst with the Farmington Police Department accepting award

Farmington Police Department’s Traffic Division was recently recognized for their outstanding efforts with DWI enforcement during the annual Law Enforcement Coordinators’ Symposium. The event took place July 29 – 30 at the Sandia Resort in Albuquerque and was attended by more than 225 representatives from New Mexico law enforcement agencies that participated in ENDDWI, BKLUP, STEP, CIOT and 100 Days and Nights of Summer. The LECS provides law enforcement with education, trend analysis and best practice methods for advancing the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Division programs. Law enforcement experts from around the country presented on various topics, including DWI enforcement, distracted driving prevention, effects of alcohol and marijuana, legal updates and occupational protection. A breath alcohol testing instrument was awarded to the Farmington Police Department for their outstanding efforts with DWI enforcement. Sergeant Dave Karst accepted the award on behalf of the department. The unit was donated by Chris Stoddard with Draeger.


PRESS RELEASE: DUI checkpoints to be conducted in March


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Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department, in partnership with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and the Aztec and Bloomfield Police Departments, will be conducting DUI checkpoints during the month of March. These checkpoints are part of a continuing effort to reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to drunk driving. This is in addition to FPD’s ongoing RADD campaign, which encourages citizens to call 911 to report aggressive and drunk drivers. In January, FPD received 275 citizen calls related to impaired or aggressive drivers. These calls resulted in 34 DUI arrests. There were a total of 83 DUI arrests in January and five alcohol related crashes. The Farmington Police Department would like to thank citizens for taking an active role in helping to keep our roadways safe.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police respond to multiple traffic crashes involving alcohol

Farmington, NM – Farmington police responded to several traffic crashes involving alcohol early Saturday morning. At approximately 2:39 a.m. officers were dispatched to the 3000 block of Sunset Avenue in reference to a vehicle that had crashed into a resident’s wall then fled the scene. Officers located the suspect vehicle and initiated a traffic stop in the area of 32nd Street and Sunset Drive. As officers attempted to approach the vehicle, the suspect drove off. The vehicle continued to travel south on Sunset in a reckless manner and at a high rate of speed. The suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Bryan King of Farmington, eventually drove into the north parking lot of Farmington High School. Officers successfully stopped King but he attempted to leave again and struck one of the police cars with his vehicle. King then exited his vehicle and ran. Officers quickly caught up with him and placed him into custody. King was charged with aggravated DUI, resisting/abusing an officer, fleeing and evading an officer, leaving the scene of an accident, and other related traffic offenses.

At approximately 4:36 a.m. officers were dispatched to the 3000 block of Cliffside Drive in reference to a vehicle that had crashed into a yard. Officers arrived on scene and found that the vehicle had struck a light pole and severed it in half. The 17-year-old male driver had fled on foot prior to officers arriving. The suspect returned to the scene later. Officers conducted an investigation and subsequently arrested and charged the driver with DUI and related traffic offenses. He was transported to the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police lift vehicle off DWI suspect pinned underneath

Farmington, NM – Farmington police officers lifted a vehicle off a woman after she rolled her SVU on Pinon Hills Boulevard. On January 2 at approximately 11:59 p.m. officers were dispatched to the area of Pinon Hills and English Road in reference to an accident involving injuries. The reporting party advised that the vehicle had possibly veered off the roadway. Officers arrived on scene and discovered an SUV in the embankment on the north side of Pinon Hills. The vehicle had rolled and was laying on its driver’s side. Officers immediately requested medics. Upon approaching the vehicle, officers found a female, later identified as 33-year-old Nellie Morales of Farmington, pinned underneath the SUV. Additional officers arrived on scene and lifted the vehicle off Morales. Medics transported her to San Juan Regional Medical Center where she was admitted due to her injuries. Morales was discharged from the hospital later this month.

Investigation of the incident revealed that Morales was the driver of the vehicle and was under the influence when she crashed. A warrant was issued for her arrest on charges of aggravated DWI, suspended driver’s license and other related traffic charges.

Her bond has been set for $3,329. The warrant remains outstanding at this time.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington man arrested on 16th DUI

Farmington, NM – Farmington police arrested 30-year-old Laurence Pine of Farmington on his 16th DUI. On December 31 at approximately 7:11 p.m. officers were dispatched to Hastings in reference to a possible domestic violence situation. Officers learned that the male half of the dispute had left the scene, was under the influence of alcohol and had two young children in the vehicle with him. The vehicle had also hit a parked car before leaving and heading west on 20th Street. Officers immediately issued an attempt to locate for the vehicle. Dispatch received reports that the vehicle was seen traveling west on Main Street and was “all over the road” as it approached the area of Safeway West. Officers located the vehicle at a gas station on Murray Drive and Bisti Highway and made contact with the driver, who was identified as Laurence Pine. Two children, ages eight and 11, were also in the vehicle. Officers learned that Pine was the father of both children and had repeatedly kicked and hit them while they were in the vehicle.

Officers conducted a DUI investigation and subsequently arrested and charged Pine with DUI, two counts of child abuse, open container, failure to maintain traffic lanes, driving while license revoked and possession of drug paraphernalia. A warrant was obtained for a blood draw to determine Pine’s blood alcohol level and he was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center. While he was there, Pine fled from officers. He was additionally charged with escape from custody. Pine is being held on a $200,000 bond.

PRESS RELEASE: Multiple arrests made during DWI checkpoints

Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department along with Bloomfield Police Department, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police recently conducted several DWI sobriety checkpoints. The checkpoints took place on December 18 at Pinon Hills Boulevard and Education Drive and on December 19 at East Main Street and Cochiti. During the December 18 checkpoint, a female identified as 25-year-old Krystin Vasquez from Aztec was arrested after she threw an open bottle of vodka out of her vehicle. Vasquez was the passenger. During the course of her arrest she kicked an FPD officer, spit on two jail guards, kicked the rear door window out of a patrol vehicle and severely damaged the rear window by kicking it loose from the frame. Vasquez was arrested and charged with multiple counts of battery on a peace officer, resisting, possession of marijuana and felony criminal damage to property.

During the December 19 checkpoint a vehicle with three occupants drove through the checkpoint without stopping. The vehicle hit multiple checkpoint cones and turned into a business parking lot. Officers were able to stop the vehicle in the parking lot and made contact with the occupants. The driver, 29-year-old Rachael Yazzie of Farmington was arrested and charged with aggravated DWI.

The following are FPD’s statistics from the checkpoints:

3 DWI arrests

2 fugitives were apprehended

2 people were arrested for driving on a revoked license

46 traffic citations were issued

5 municipal citations were issued for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia

1 person arrested on felony charges

Please contact New Mexico State Police for additional statistics.

PRESS RELEASE: Suspect arrested for 4th DWI after fleeing the scene of an accident

Farmington, NM – Farmington police arrested 35-year old Brian Gishie of Lukachukai, AZ after he fled the scene of an accident. On December 16 at approximately 8:12 p.m. Farmington police were dispatched to the area of Main Street and San Juan Boulevard in reference to a traffic crash. Dispatch advised officers that the suspect vehicle had left the scene. The reporting party followed the suspect and informed dispatch that the driver stopped the vehicle near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Gila Street and fled on foot. The reporting party was able to maintain a visual on Gishie until officers located him near the entrance of the food court at Animas Valley Mall.

Investigation of the crash revealed that Gishie and his girlfriend had just left Childhaven after a scheduled visitation with their children. The two were traveling east on Main Street. When they reached the area near Main and Butler Avenue Gishie began driving recklessly at a high rate of speed. As Gishie approached the intersection of Main and San Juan Boulevard, he rear-ended a vehicle that was stopped at a red light. The vehicle was occupied by two adults and two children. None of the occupants were injured. Gishie’s girlfriend exited the vehicle at the intersection after the crash and Gishie fled the scene leaving her behind.

During the investigation, Gishie attempted to bribe officers. He was later arrested and charged with a fourth DWI, bribery of an officer, resisting and obstructing, careless driving, duty to give information and render aid, immediate notice of an accident, and driving without a license. He is being held at the San Juan County Detention Center without bond.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police officer injured while taking suspect into custody

Farmington, NM – A Farmington police officer was injured on November 29 while taking a suspect into custody following a traffic stop. At approximately 9:00 p.m. a Farmington officer observed a vehicle exit the Hastings parking lot. The vehicle continued to travel west bound on 20th Street at speeds of over 50 miles per hour. The officer observed the vehicle weaving in and out of traffic and causing other motorists to veer off the road. The vehicle turned south onto Carlton Avenue and came to a stop just north of Cooper Street. The driver, later identified as 28-year-old Gregory Shepard, exited the vehicle and fled on foot. The officer chased Shepard and took him into custody without further incident.

A second officer arrived on scene to conduct a DUI investigation. As he began the investigation, the front passenger exited the vehicle and fled on foot. The officer ran after the subject and caught him in a neighboring driveway. The subject, later identified as 34-year-old Larry Emerson, struggled with the officer and punched him in the face. A K9 officer arrived on scene and assisted with taking Emerson into custody. The officer was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center and treated for his injuries. He sustained a shattered elbow and multiple abrasions to his knees, elbow and hand.

Shepard was charged with DUI (6th offense), resisting, speeding, revoked license and open container. He is being held at the San Juan County Detention Center without bond. Emerson was charged with battery on a police officer, resisting and criminal damage to property. He is being held at the San Juan County Detention Center on a $5,900 bond.


PRESS RELEASE: Suspect arrested for 3rd DUI after hitting pedestrian

Farmington, NM – At approximately 3:35 p.m. on Friday, Farmington police were dispatched to the 1300 block of South Butler in reference to a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle. The suspect fled the scene and was located traveling west on Peach from South Butler. The driver, 35-year-old Gwendolyn Joe, was arrested and charged with DUI causing great bodily harm, leaving the scene of an accident and other related traffic offenses. This was Joe’s third DUI.

The pedestrian was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center and treated for her injuries. She was discharged later that evening. Joe is being held at the San Juan County Detention Center on an $11,300 bond.