Serving the High Plains

Tucumcari man jailed after police chase

A Tucumcari man was jailed after being accused of leading police on a chase through streets Sunday night that ended with damage to two city police vehicles and property at Mesalands Community College.

According to online court records, Dylan Jackie Bennett, 22, booked into the county jail early Monday on these nine counts, which include four felonies:

• Aggravated assault upon a police officer with a deadly weapon (two counts);

• Aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer;

• Aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug (0.16 or over);

• Criminal damage to property (over $1,000);

• Resisting, evading or obstructing an officer;

• Driving while license revoked (DWI);

• Reckless driving;

• Improper use of evidence of registration (display).

The charges of aggravated assault upon a peace officer are the most serious — a third-degree felony that can lead up to three years in prison or a $5,000 fine.

Bennett was scheduled to make his first appearance in magistrate court Monday afternoon, after the Quay County Sun’s deadline.

According to a complaint filed by Tucumcari police officer Daniel Lopez, he attempted to stop a black Chevrolet Camaro that was speeding south on First Street at 58 mph at 35 mph zone.

Lopez wrote the car “took off at a high rate of speed, trying to get away from me” after he activated his emergency lights.

The Camaro traveled south on Second Street, turned west onto Charles Avenue, north onto Fifth Street and east onto Chenault Avenue, where the vehicle spun out. Another Tucumcari police officer on patrol, Cpl. Herman Martinez, tried to block the Camaro’s path with his vehicle.

The Camaro rammed Martinez’s vehicle, then went in reverse through an alley into a parking lot of a church. The car went north on Fourth Street, making several turns before losing control on Route 66.

Lopez made a second attempt to block the Camaro, but it also rammed his vehicle. The driver put the Camaro in reverse and traveled west on Route 66 and went south onto 10th Street. The Camaro by this time had sustained a blown-out left front tire. Martinez tried to use his vehicle to stop the car again, but it went up on a curb and struck a tree at Mesalands Community College.

The Camaro went across the parking lot onto West Hines Avenue and was stopped in the 800 block.

“Cpl. Herman Martinez and I exited our vehicle, weapons drawn, shouting commands for Bennett to get out of the vehicle,” Lopez wrote, but Bennett was unable to get out due to the vehicle’s damage. Martinez used a tool to break the passenger-side window, placed Bennett in hand restraints and pulled him out.

Bennett said he was not the driver of the Camaro, though no other people were in the car. Bennett said his left leg was hurting, and an ambulance was called to take him to the hospital.

While talking to Bennett, Martinez said he could smell an odor of alcohol on him. Bennett admitted to drinking three beers and a shot of whiskey. Officers obtained a search warrant to take a blood sample at the hospital to determine his level of intoxication.

According to jail records, Bennett was booked into the Quay County Detention Center about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

No attorney for Bennett was listed in court records.