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Man pleads not guilty to charges in September chase


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A man who allegedly led Chaves County sheriff’s deputies on a pursuit while driving a vehicle that was pulling a flatbed trailer has pleaded not guilty to three criminal counts.

Joseph Ponce (Submitted Photo)

Court records state Joseph Ponce, 33, of Roswell pleaded not guilty to one count each of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer; resisting, evading or obstructing an officer; and driving while license suspended or revoked, when he appeared Monday at his arraignment in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County.

Judge Jared Kallunki set a jury trial in the case for April 12.

Ponce reportedly led deputies on a high-speed chase on the evening of Sept. 9, when he refused to stop for deputies during an attempted traffic stop and later attempted to flee from deputies on foot.

Court documents state that a deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop on a Chevrolet Suburban driven by Ponce on North Red Bridge Road because a flatbed trailer the vehicle was pulling lacked functioning tail lights or a valid registration plate.

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The Suburban, which at the time was traveling southbound, did not stop, but allegedly accelerated and began swerving in what appeared to be an attempt to throw wood from the flatbed.

Court records state the Suburban continued southbound before running a stop sign, turning west onto McGaffey Street and then traveling through a field.

The Suburban proceeded east onto Milky Way Road and south onto Lipan Road with multiple marked law enforcement vehicles following it. The Suburban then turned west onto Brasher Road and then onto Old Dexter Highway before allegedly running a stop sign,

Continuing south on Old Dexter Highway, court records state, the chase reached Alabama Road before transitioning onto a dirt road adjacent to Lupton Road, speeding through a barbed wire fence and driving into a field at a dairy.

Following an unsuccessful attempt to break through a steel cable fence, the Suburban was disabled, prompting Ponce to flee on foot.

According to court filings, when deputies caught up with Ponce he was taken to the ground after refusing to comply with orders issued by deputies.

It was later learned that Ponce had been driving on a revoked license with an arrest clause and he was taken into custody.

The following day, Judge K.C. Rogers of Chaves County Magistrate Court set bond for Ponce at $25,000 cash or surety.

At the time of the incident, court records state, Ponce was out on $10,000 bond while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking a controlled substance, methamphetamine; tampering with evidence; and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer. A trial date in that case has been scheduled for Feb. 1.

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

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