Serving the High Plains

Man accused of fleeing police at 90 mph on streets

A Tucumcari man stands accused of leading police on a chase at speeds of over 90 mph on city streets and striking a parked vehicle before he was arrested at gunpoint by city police.

Adam Manuel Apodaca, 24, is charged with 12 counts of failure to yield, speeding 36 mph and over, reckless driving, failure to stop upon striking an unattended vehicle and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer.

The fleeing count is a fourth-degree felony that could lead up to 18 months in prison or a $5,000 fine. The other counts are misdemeanors.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Tucumcari magistrate court on April 25, Tucumcari police officer Kevin Johnson was on patrol on West Tucumcari Boulevard shortly after midnight April 23 when he saw a white sport-utility vehicle going south on the 700 block of South Eighth Street at a high speed.

The officer stated the SUV turned onto the boulevard at a high speed, almost striking a curb at the intersection. The officer activated his emergency lights and attempted to make a stop. When the patrol car got behind the SUV, it turned north in the 700 block of South Fifth Street at a high rate of speed.

The pursuit proceeded on streets and alleys at speeds up to 94 mph in a 25 mph zone, the officer stated, with the SUV failing to yield at stop intersections and scraping the bottom of the vehicle.

At one point, the officer noted the SUV had slowed and weaved, sideswiping a parked vehicle in the 1800 block of South Third Street.

The SUV finally stopped near Chenault Avenue. The officer exited his patrol car, withdrew his firearm and gave commands to the driver, identified as Apodaca. The officer placed Apodaca in hand restraints and placed him in his patrol vehicle.

During a search of Apodaca’s vehicle, Johnson stated he found a sealed container of alcohol in the driver’s door pocket and a small amount of marijuana the SUV. He asked Apodaca whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and Apodaca denied it. The officer stated Apodaca had bloodshot and glassy eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. Apodaca declined to take a chemical breath test.

Apodaca was booked into the Quay County Detention Center after he rejected a medical examination at Trigg Memorial Hospital. Magistrate Judge Noreen Hendrickson found probable cause for the charges on April 25.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Heidi Adams filed a pretrial motion to hold Apodaca in jail without bond. She argued no release conditions will protect the safety of people in the community, citing his previous criminal history, a history of violating court orders and being a flight risk.

“Driving in speeds almost 70 mph above the posted speed limit is extremely reckless,” Adams added in her motion. “Driving in residential neighborhoods while being pursued by police is inherently dangerous. Not only is the motoring public at risk by the defendant’s actions, but anyone in the general vicinity of the defendant.”

On Thursday, District Judge Albert Mitchell Jr. ordered Apodaca held until another court hearing is held this week.

Brett Phelps of Las Vegas was appointed as Apodaca’s public defender in the case.