FARMINGTON ― New Mexico State Police dispatchers received several calls at approximately 8 p.m. Jan. 11, reporting a possible drunk driver in Farmington driving a grey Chevy passenger car.
One of the callers was following the suspect vehicle with their flashers on relaying to dispatch that the vehicle was swerving in and out of the lanes. Two New Mexico State Police officers spotted the vehicle on San Juan Blvd in Farmington. The officers turned on their lights and sirens but the driver refused to stop.
The driver slowed to about five miles an hour but still refused to stop. The second State Police officer pulled up beside the vehicle and could see that there were three small children in the back seat.
The suspect continued driving at a slow speed towards a busy intersection. The second State Police officer knew if the driver did not stop, and entered the intersection, the vehicle would likely be hit by traffic traveling in the opposite direction and the children would sustain serious and potentially life threatening injuries. Just before the vehicle entered the intersection, the second State Police officer made the decision to place his marked patrol unit in the path of the suspects’ vehicle to prevent it from entering the intersection.
The suspect did not stop and impacted the State Police car at a slow speed. The officer’s quick thinking prevented a serious collision in which the children and other innocent bystanders would have suffered injury.
No one was injured in the incident. The driver, Shelton Johnson, 26, of Sanostee, NM was arrested for DWI and failing to stop for a police officer. Witnesses gave statements that the passenger of the vehicle Philleria Phillips, 31, of Rock Point, Ariz., was driving the vehicle and switched seats with Johnson just minutes before State Police officers arrived. Phillips also was arrested and charged with DWI. The children were taken into custody by CYFD.
This case remains under investigation and no additional information is available.