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Motorist arrested after standoff with deputies


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An hours-long standoff Saturday between a motorist and local law enforcement ended with an arrest.

Manuel Zavala (Submitted Photo)

Manuel Zavala, 26, of Roswell, was taken into custody and charged with one count each of aggravated assault on a peace officer and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, according to documents filed Monday in Chaves County Magistrate Court.

For several hours late Saturday afternoon and into the evening, Zavala remained inside his black Dodge Charger at the intersection of One Horse Road and Capitan Road.

Court documents state deputies and at least one Roswell police officer tried without success to convince Zavala to surrender.

Eventually the Roswell Police Department SWAT Team was called to the scene. Zavala was later taken into custody after SWAT Team members broke his driver’s side window, forced their way in and placed him in handcuffs.

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Throughout the incident, court documents state, Zavala had the vehicle in drive or reverse, his windows rolled up and made no contact with the deputies or officers.

On the occasions when Zavala did have his window down, he would become argumentative and question the orders of deputies.

“The driver showed signs of agitation and refused to show his hands as commanded,” court documents state.

The incident happened after a deputy had driven out to the area of Red Bluff Road in Chaves County at 4:02 p.m. in reference to a report of a suspicious vehicle.

A caller reported seeing a suspicious vehicle and when he approached the vehicle to tell the motorist that he had driven onto private property, the motorist, based on his behavior, appeared to be on narcotics, according to court documents.

Three deputies were in the area attempting to locate the vehicle, which was reported to be in the area of Red Bluff Road and Cottonwood Road.

According to court documents, one of the deputies encountered the vehicle Zavala was driving in the area of Chaves and Cotton roads. He eventually conducted a traffic stop on it.

The window of Zavala’s vehicle was down and the deputy, who had not approached the vehicle, ordered Zavala to show his hands.

Zavala, court documents state, responded by briefly putting his hands out of the vehicle before then pulling them back in.

Zavala allegedly then said he wanted to see the deputy’s badge and warned, “If you are not going to show me your badge, I’m just going to take off.”

He then proceeded to drive away, with the deputy following him but at a distance, as the vehicle kept speeding up and slowing down. Zavala then pulled off to the side of the road. The deputy responded by stopping his own vehicle and remaining still.

Zavala’s vehicle, court documents state, allegedly then turned around and sped toward the deputy, who was positioned on the far right side of the road.

The deputy then saw Zavala’s vehicle head into his lane of travel. As the vehicle advanced, the deputy attempted to move as far right of the road as possible to avert a collision, with Zavala’s vehicle allegedly missing the deputy’s vehicle by one to two feet.

After he narrowly avoided being hit, the deputy turned his unit around at the intersection of One Horse Road and Capitan Road.

Zavala, court documents state, then also turned around, pulled into a turnoff and positioned his vehicle 20 feet from the deputy’s unit.

The deputy then held Zavala at gunpoint as he continued not to comply with the deputy’s orders.

Following his arrest, Zavala was transported to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and later to the Chaves County Detention Center.

Magistrate Judge E.J. Fouratt set Zavala’s bond at $5,000 cash or surety during a first appearance in court Monday. Electronic court records indicate Zavala is next scheduled to appear in court Dec. 23 for a preliminary examination.

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

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