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Two men arrested in Sunday night chase

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Two Texas men were arrested late Sunday night after reportedly leading local law enforcement on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Zachary Padillla (Submitted Photo)

Jaden Johnson, 22, of Breckenridge, Texas, and Zachary Padilla, 29, of Dallas, were apprehended after allegedly leading Roswell police and Chaves County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a high speed chase in a black Nissan SUV reported stolen out of Texas, according to documents filed Monday in Chaves County Magistrate Court.

Both suspects were found and taken into custody shortly after abandoning the Nissan in an area in the 1400 block of South Mulberry Street. Padilla was arrested after he was spotted by police running and trying to jump multiple fences in a nearby backyard. Johnson, who injured his ankle, was discovered sitting on the side of the road in the 1600 block of Stanton Avenue.

Jaden Johnson (Submitted Photo)

Padilla is charged with being a fugitive from justice, wanted on two outstanding warrants in Texas for parole violation. Johnson faces one count each of receiving stolen property, over $2,500 but not more than $20,000; and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer.

The pursuit, according to court documents, began at 10:50 p.m. in the area of Second Street and Orchard Avenue, when an RPD patrol officer encountered the black Nissan traveling east and passing him with its high beams on.

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When the officer turned around, he saw the Nissan take off. The officer then attempted to conduct a traffic stop and get the vehicle to pull over.

The Nissan was reportedly traveling as fast as 70 miles per hour when it approached a traffic light at the intersection of Atkinson Avenue and Second Street. Another vehicle had been positioned on the north side of the intersection with a green light and right of way.

If the vehicle had proceeded with the right of way and crossed the intersection, court documents state, it would have been struck by the Nissan at a high rate of speed.

The officer, who knew the Nissan had been reported stolen, followed behind it at speeds of 75 miles per hour, which soon accelerated to 100 miles per hour.

Speed of the Nissan though was reduced to about 50 miles per hour when the officer ended his pursuit due to a sheriff’s deputy being nearby.

Padilla later told police, court documents state, that Johnson was driving during the pursuit and at one point told Padilla he was going to turn a corner and proposed that they both jump out of the vehicle while it was still in motion.

Padilla said he urged Johnson not to do that because they had no idea where they were going in the city.

Johnson, Padilla said, then leapt out of the Nissan while it was still in motion, forcing him to get into the driver’s seat to gain control of the vehicle and park it in a nearby driveway. Padilla then fled on foot.

Court documents state Johnson initially denied being in the chase. He said that he had been walking in the 1600 block of Stanton Avenue when he was struck in the ankle by the vehicle that was being pursued by police.

“He stated he started screaming in pain and police saw him but continued past him,” court documents state.

Padilla later told police Johnson had picked him up days earlier in Andrews, Texas. He said, according to court documents, that Johnson had told him that he had stolen the Nissan from a woman in a parking lot.

He added that he and Johnson drove to Albuquerque as part of an alleged effort to sell the Nissan. When that was unsuccessful they went to Roswell, where Padilla said they met with an unknown woman who said she had a friend who wanted to buy it. When that also failed, Padilla said they tried to find a hotel room.

Court documents state a deputy had seen the Nissan in the area of Tilden Street and North Garden Avenue shortly before the pursuit with the RPD officer began and that Padilla was driving at the time.

The deputy briefly followed the Nissan, but court documents state that he was forced to stop when called off on another call.

Padilla later told police that he had gotten scared when he saw the deputy behind them before the chase and they pulled into the parking lot of an Allsup’s, where Johnson allegedly took over driving.

Padilla is being held without bond while awaiting extradition back to Texas, according to electronic court records.

Magistrate Judge E.J. Fouratt set bond for Johnson at $50,000 cash or surety during a first appearance in court Monday.

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