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Chase ends with vehicle driving up courthouse steps

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A vehicle pursuit through downtown Roswell Friday night ended with a pickup truck driving up the steps of the Chaves County Courthouse.

Todd Wildermuth, public information officer with the Roswell Police Department, said Saturday that police were following the pickup, allegedly driven by 62-year-old Randall Pargas, and heading north on North Main Street when the vehicle left the road, traveled across the courthouse lawn and scaled the steps leading up to the building’s west entrance.

Pargas, who sustained what is believed to be a non-life-threatening head injury, was transported to a local hospital and later booked at the Chaves County Detention Center on one count each of aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs; criminal damage; aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer; and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

The injury to Pargas, who also faces five counts each of leaving the scene of an accident and failing to render aid, was the only reported injury from the pursuit, Wildermuth said.

Law enforcement first made contact with Pargas in south Roswell after dispatchers at the Pecos Valley Communications Center began to receive calls at about 9:30 p.m. of a vehicle driving erratically.

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When law enforcement encountered the pickup, Wildermuth said, they tried to pull the vehicle over but it would not stop. The pickup hit five parked vehicles before reaching the courthouse, where the chase ultimately ended.

Pargas refused a blood test, though Wildermuth said police believe he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Though the pickup did not breach the building, tire marks and some breakage were visible on the steps.

Bill Williams, Chaves County manager, estimated the damage to the steps to be well over $100,000. The lower steps, which are made of concrete, he said, will be easier to repair than the landing and upper steps, which are made of stone.

He added that the courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and all repairs must be done in accordance with guidelines set forth by the state’s Historic Preservation Division.

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