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Flagstaff, AZ – On Friday, May 24, 2013 at about 1:11 am a Coconino Sheriff’s Deputy stopped a vehicle traveling between 5-12 miles per hour on Hwy 89N near Marketplace Drive. The driver of the vehicle made an unsafe lane change, adversely affecting other traffic. The vehicle was a black Nissan Altima with a California license plate that was determined to be an Enterprise rental vehicle. The driver took an extended amount of time to yield, finally stopping in the La-Z-Boy store parking lot. The driver was crying and said he was in a fight with his girlfriend. The Deputy detected an odor of metabolized alcohol on the driver’s breath and was preparing to administer Standardized Field Sobriety tests when a second Deputy arrived.
At about 1:19 am as both deputies re-approached the driver and vehicle to investigate further, the driver fled in the vehicle as both deputies were standing next to the vehicle. The Deputy initiated a pursuit westbound on Hwy 89N (Route 66), then southbound on the Country Club overpass. The fleeing vehicle reached speeds of approximately 85 miles per hour.
As the vehicle continued southbound past the Country Club Mobil gas station, the pursuing Deputy lost sight of the vehicle and stopped the pursuit at 1:21 am. Flagstaff Police Officers were advised of what had occurred and were provided with a description of the driver and vehicle. A Deputy located the suspect vehicle at Dallas Real Estate on E. Cortland Blvd where it had struck a rock. The vehicle was still running and in gear with the front wheels turning. The driver had fled on foot prior to the Deputy’s arrival.
A crew aboard an Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter and Flagstaff Police Officers assisted Deputies in searching for the driver who they believed was on foot.A stolen, loaded Glock 9 mm handgun was found between the driver seat and driver door. A loaded 30-round magazine also was found in the vehicle. Methamphetamines, marijuana, scales and other paraphernalia as well as a stolen iPhone, 8 other smartphones and a laptop were found in the vehicle.
The driver was not located; however, investigators believe they have identified him and will seek a criminal complaint and arrest warrant.
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Media Contact: Gerry Blair, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, 928-226-5089