Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Rescued climber had been denied access


March 23, 2022

A Tucumcari man rescued from a steep ledge on Tucumcari Mountain after becoming stranded there for hours last week had been denied access by one of the mesa’s owners earlier that day.

Daniel W. Pennison, 43, was booked into the Quay County Detention Center on March 14 on charges of criminal trespass and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer. Both are misdemeanors.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Tucumcari magistrate court, the Quay County Sheriff’s Office was informed about 4:30 p.m. March 14 about a man being stuck on Tucumcari Mountain and possibly being injured. He was found stranded a steep ledge near the large “T” on the mesa’s north face.

While Tucumcari firefighters and deputies began search-and-rescue efforts, deputies contacted one of the mesa’s owners, Jamie Vance, who said Pennison had asked for permission to be on the property that morning and was denied.

Tucumcari Fire and Rescue began an operation initially to use ropes to rappel personnel from the top of the mountain, then raise Pennison to safety.

Instead, Pennison was lowered to more level terrain from the ledge about 8:15 p.m., nearly four hours after he became stuck.

After his rescue, Pennison abruptly ran away. Deputies were informed Pennison had fled on a bicycle north on Mountain Road.

Authorities apprehended Pennison a short time later on East Tucumcari Boulevard.

Pennison was taken to Trigg Memorial Hospital for a medical examination. Healthcare personnel there cleared him, and he was booked into the county jail.

Magistrate Judge Noreen Hendrickson on Wednesday released Pennison on bond with a variety of conditions, including that he not possess weapons, not consume alcohol, cannabis or illegal drugs, submit to drug or alcohol testing and maintain employment.

A pretrial hearing is set for April 14.

Brett Phelps of Las Vegas is listed as Pennison’s public defender.


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