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Suspect arrested in Monday chase, explosion

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A man who allegedly led police on a chase Monday that ended with a stolen pickup truck crashing into pumps at a gas station, causing an explosion, has been arrested.

Victor Barron, 21, of Roswell, was arrested by Chaves County Sheriff’s Office deputies late Thursday outside a McDonald’s on North Main Street, Sheriff Mike Herrington said Friday.

Barron was found by deputies who responded to a call about a man seen in Walmart who had burns on his face and hands. Herrington said the caller had seen the post about Monday’s chase and explosion, and thought the suspect could have such burns.

Deputies later found him at a McDonald’s on North Main Street with burns on the right side of his face and a bandaged arm, according to documents filed Friday in Chaves County Magistrate Court.

He was then told by deputies that he was needed in connection with an ongoing investigation. When asked for his name, Barron identified himself as David Duran and said he was from Mexico and did not know when he was born.

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Deputies would later learn his true identity while en route to a hospital to have Barron’s burns attended to.

Two credit cards were found near Barron when deputies first approached him outside the McDonald’s. Upon further investigation, it was discovered they had been reported stolen Wednesday during a vehicle burglary, court documents state.

It was later learned from video surveillance footage, from a security camera in Walmart, that Barron had tried to use the credit cards in the store but they were declined.

Charles Yslas, chief deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, said Barron is so far charged with two counts of unlawful taking of a vehicle and one charge each of concealing identity, theft of a credit card and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Search warrants have also been executed on Barron’s residence in the 300 block of Ballard Street and additional counts are still pending, including charges in connection with Monday’s pursuit, and a criminal damage charge after Barron allegedly damaged a window on a Sheriff’s Office vehicle, Yslas said.

He added Barron is also wanted on an outstanding warrant for a vehicle theft in Albuquerque.

The arrest follows a pursuit early Monday that began shortly after 6 a.m. when a Roswell police officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop of a Ford F-250 super duty pickup that had been reported stolen.

The driver of the stolen vehicle then fled in the pickup, driving recklessly at high speeds and ignoring traffic signs and signals amid the morning traffic.

In accordance with department policy designed to maintain public safety, the officer soon canceled the chase, but a sheriff’s deputy soon began pursuing the pickup into south Roswell.

The chase ended when the driver rammed into two gas pumps — one containing diesel and the other propane — at the Bell Gas Station on Southeast Main Street, leading to an explosion that fully engulfed the pickup. The fire was extinguished by crews from the Roswell Fire Department within about 20 minutes.

A female employee at the gas station who was outside when the pickup collided with the pumps received third-degree burns to her arms. She has since been transported to a hospital in Lubbock for treatment.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.