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Man sentenced in chase, gas pump explosion

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Pictured is a charred fuel pump at the Bell Gas station at 1815 Southeast Main St. in Roswell on May 18, after a stolen pickup truck being pursued by a Chaves County sheriff’s deputy crashed into a pump and caused an explosion. Victor Ivan Barron, 22, of Roswell, on Thursday pleaded no contest in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court to a total of four criminal counts in three separate cases, including two counts in connection with the pursuit that led to the fuel pump explosion: aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer and leaving the scene of an accident, great bodily harm or death. (Daily Record File Photo)

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A man who led police on a high-speed chase in May, which ended with him crashing a stolen pickup truck into a fuel pump and causing an explosion outside a gas station in south Roswell, received suspended sentences on four criminal counts in three separate cases Thursday.

Judge Thomas Lilley of New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District followed the recommendations of the District Attorney’s Office and sentenced Victor Ivan Barron, 22, of Roswell, to a total of four and a half years incarceration, all suspended and to be served on supervised probation with Adult Probation and Parole. Each of the four sentences are 18 months long.

Barron also must complete drug and alcohol treatment, undergo drug and alcohol screening, maintain full-time employment and pay restitution as determined by his adult probation officer. He starts his term of probation with 409 days of pre-sentence confinement credit.

Barron, who appeared via video from the Chaves County Detention Center, pleaded no contest to four counts in accordance with plea agreements in three separate cases.

The charges against Barron include one count each of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer and leaving the scene of an accident, bodily harm or death, in connection with the theft of a 2017 Ford F-250 pickup in the early morning hours of May 18. He then allegedly led police on a pursuit that at times reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour before losing control of the vehicle and hitting a fuel pump at the Bell Gas station at 1815 Southeast Main St., resulting in an explosion.

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Barron, who fled the scene on foot before police arrived, and a female employee at the station, both sustained burns. Barron was later found and arrested by Chaves County deputies after he was spotted by someone who saw a man matching his description. Barron was apprehended when Chaves County deputies responded to a call in the 4500 block of North Main Street after someone spotted Barron at a store.

The sentences on both counts will run concurrently.

In exchange for changing his plea from not guilty to no contest in those, six additional charges were dismissed: unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, two counts of criminal damage to property, tampering with evidence, leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to vehicle, and failure to give immediate notice of accidents.

Barron also pleaded no contest and was given 18-month sentences on two separate counts of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle in two unrelated cases. Those sentences will run consecutively — or be served one after another.

Ira Shiflett, Barron’s attorney, agreed with the sentence. He said the plea was appropriate because Barron had no prior felony convictions and when finally apprehended by police, was cooperative.

He added that the cause of the crimes perpetrated in each of the cases was use of methamphetamine by Barron.

Barron said during the hearing he was grateful for the plea agreement because he thought that he was going to be doing “a lot of time.”

“It’s really just given me a second chance at life, so I am going to take it serious,” he said.

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