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Santa Fe man jailed after high-speed police chase

Olivia HarlowMay 23, 2019

A Santa Fe man with a lengthy criminal record, including a manslaughter conviction, was behind bars again Tuesday after leading state police on a wild chase over the weekend, according to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.

Miguel Espinoza, 36, faces charges including aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer, criminal damage to property and possession of cocaine, the complaint says.

A state police officer wrote that he was turning off N.M. 68 onto Fairview Lane in Española at about 1:30 a.m. Friday when he saw a white Ford F-350 pickup that he knew belonged to Espinoza, the subject of several arrest warrants.

When the officer tried pulling the truck over, Espinoza stopped the vehicle briefly before fleeing at high speed, the complaint says.

Police pursued the truck north on N.M. 68 at speeds that exceeded 85 mph out of Española’s city limits and onto rural dirt roads, the complaint says. At one point, Espinoza drove through a barbed wire fence and onto a median, driving so fast his vehicle would “come up on 3 wheels,” police reported.

Eventually, the truck began smoking, and when it turned onto Rio Arriba County Road 41, the transmission went out, disabling the vehicle, the complaint says.

When an officer told Espinoza to show his hands, police reports say, he hid one hand behind his back and the officer then used a stun gun. Once Espinoza was on the ground, police found cocaine in his possession as well as “scattered all over the floorboard” of his truck, the complaint says.

According to court records, recent warrants for Espinoza’s arrest included three from Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court — one for criminal trespassing, another for criminal damage to property and evading or obstructing an officer, and a third for receiving stolen property totaling over $2,500. A warrant issued by the First Judicial District Court in January charged him with aggravated fleeing from law enforcement.

In 2004, when Espinoza was 21 and had an Española address, he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in state District Court in Albuquerque, court records show.

The New Mexican reported in 2004 that Espinoza was accused of striking a man with a liquor bottle during an argument at an Albuquerque hotel, and the victim later died in a hospital.

Following Espinoza’s most recent encounter with police, he was booked into the Santa Fe County jail, where he was being held in lieu of bond Tuesday afternoon. According to court documents, he is scheduled to appear in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court on June 12.

A passenger in his pickup, identified as Martin Gonzales, was arrested on two counts of possessing controlled substances and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, jail records show. Gonzales was released Saturday.

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