A stolen vehicle and high-speed chase through Hobbs ended with the arrest of a Hobbs man Tuesday.
Steven Salazar, 32, of Hobbs, was arrested on Feb. 15 and charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer and larceny over $2,500, under $20,000, both third-degree felonies; unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, both fourth-degree felonies; and resisting evading or obstructing an officer and probation violation, both misdemeanors.
On Feb. 15, Hobb Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of Jicarilla St. in reference to a stolen vehicle.
HPD officers met with the owner of the vehicle who stated his white Tundra was stolen from his residence and the vehicle had a GPS device enabled on the vehicle.
Officers were able to pinpoint the vehicle’s location, based on the GPS coordinates they were given, in the area of Dal Paso and Sanger.
HPD’s EAGLE cameras were then able to spot the vehicle headed west on Sanger St.
The vehicle was located in an alley on San Andres St. where officers made contact with the occupant — later identified as Salazar — who took off in the vehicle, down the alley, and turned onto Princess Jeanne St.
HPD officers pursued Salazar through the areas of Jefferson St. and Marland Blvd. where they abandoned the chase because Salazar was driving recklessly.
Several unmarked police units continued following the vehicle, observing Salazar eventually make his way to the Hobbs Apartments. Officers used their vehicles to block the entrance of the apartments, and attempted to deploy “spike sticks” to stop the vehicle. Spike sticks are tire-deflation device used by law enforcement to safely and quickly end high-speed automotive pursuits.
Salazar allegedly jumped the curb and started driving towards officers while they were attempting to deploy the sticks — forcing officers to draw their weapons on Salazar.
Salazar turned away from officers and continued to flee.
According to the HPD criminal complaint, several people were calling into the department advising the vehicle was running traffic lights, driving at high rates of speed, and driving into oncoming traffic, almost causing multiple wrecks.
The vehicle then turned into the entrance of the Four Seasons Apartments where a deputy with the Lea County Sheriff’s Office pulled up next to Salazar and told him to stop.
When Salazar saw the marked police unit next to him, he fled again, the HPD report stated.
As officers were attempting to deploy spike strips, Salazar drove deliberatly toward officers in an attempt to hit them and then turned south onto Jefferson St., the report stated.
An HPD sergeant headed to the apartments was also almost struck by Salazar when Salazar swerved into the sergeant’s lane.
Salazar continued to drive “in big circles for another 30 to 35 minutes” before pulling into City Park for five minutes and speeding off. Salazar lead officers to the Inn Place apartments where he stopped, got out of his vehicle, and surrendered to police.
Salazar told officers he had just been released from jail the day before and needed to report to his probation officer.
“Steven then advised me you already know how this is going to go and started laughing again,” the complaint states.
Salazar has charges in 2021 for aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, burglary of a vehicle, criminal trespass, and criminal damage to the property of a household member.
Salazar was held on a pretrial detention order on Feb.16. He does not have a preliminary hearing date scheduled, as of press time Wednesday.