RR man charged with 8th DWI, fleeing from officers

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A Rio Rancho man has been charged with his eighth DWI, and accused of fleeing from police in a dangerous way.

Rio Rancho Police Department

Alfonso Lopez, 46, is charged with felony-level aggravated DWI on the basis of refusing to take a breath test, aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, also a felony, and driving on a license revoked because of DWI and resisting, evading or obstructing officers, both misdemeanors. Under New Mexico law, DWI and aggravated DWI both become felonies when someone is charged for the fourth time.

According to Rio Rancho Police reports, an officer was dispatched to the Dollar General store on Pine Road on April 8 after a store employee reported an intoxicated man being in the store and then driving away. The officer saw a truck and driver matching the description the caller provided and tried to stop the vehicle.

The driver fled at a high rate of speed on the wrong side of the road, almost hitting another vehicle head-on, according to police. When the pickup left the paved portion of Pine, the officer could no longer follow because her Dodge Charger patrol car couldn’t handle the terrain.

So, another officer in a four-wheel drive pickup searched for the suspect’s pickup on the mesa and found it stuck in soft sand and unoccupied, according to police reports. One set of footprints led away from it.

Soon thereafter, two Sandoval County Sheriff’s deputies found a man matching the suspect’s description. According to reports, the man ran away from them, but they caught and arrested him after a short distance.

The man was identified as Lopez and appeared intoxicated because of the smell of alcohol coming from him, slurred speech, problems maintaining his balance and bloodshot, watery eyes, according to police.

Officers wrote that Lopez’s shoes matched the prints leading away from the truck, and the key in his pocket started the pickup. According to reports, Lopez was argumentative and repeatedly said he did nothing wrong.

He refused to take field sobriety tests or breath tests, according to police. He was booked into Sandoval County Detention Center.

Lopez’s attorney, Arthur Hernandez, did not return a phone call seeking comment by press time. The case is pending in Sandoval County Magistrate Court.