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Shiprock man sentenced for assault on law enforcement officer

Suspect fled in vehicle after hitting official

FARMINGTON – A 33-year-old man was sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting a law enforcement officer.

According to U.S. Department of Justice court records, on Jan. 22, 2020, Derrick Begay of Shiprock, New Mexico, was in his truck parked in the middle of a service road, blocking it and slumped over the steering wheel.

The criminal complaint says two officers arrived at the scene and “smelled the odor of marijuana” coming from the truck.

One officer tried to awaken Begay, and after several attempts, including opening Begay’s door to touch his shoulder to wake him up, “Begay eventually woke up and appeared to be intoxicated as his speech was slurred.”

The complaint said Begay was dazed and confused and didn’t know where he was.

“The agent lawfully requested that Begay exit his vehicle, but Begay did not comply,” the department’s news release said.

According to the criminal complaint, at one point when asked to get out of the vehicle, Begay said, “Anything can be taken care of with money.” When asked if he was attempting to bribe officers, he said no, but that, again, “anything can be solved with money.”

The officers attempted to get Begay out of the truck, but after no success, Begay swung and hit one of the officers in the face, according to the complaint.

Officers backed off, with the hit officer holding his firearm demanding Begay exit the vehicle. Begay instead started his truck and led the officers on a pursuit on the Navajo Nation, according to the criminal complaint. Begay hit speeds in excess of 100 mph. The release said law enforcement called off the pursuit because of poor weather conditions and school buses being on the road at the time.

Begay wasn’t arrested until May 1, 2020, more than three months after the incident.

Begay was sentenced in federal court to prison for two years with three years of supervised release afterward.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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