Police Blotter: Drunk driver to serve 12 years for fatal crash

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

LOS ANGELES – A federal judge in Albuquerque sentenced a Torreón man to 12 years and five months in prison for driving his car while intoxicated and causing an accident in 2018 that resulted in the death of three people and serious injuries to three others.

Allen Lewis, 26, agreed to plead guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and assault of a minor with a deadly weapon in August of 2019. Sentencing was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court records, Navajo Police learned just after midnight on April 17, 2018, of the two-car accident that occurred on Route 9 between Pueblo Pintado and Tinnian, New Mexico. Initial reports said that two minors and one adult died at the scene.

Three survivors were flown to the University of New Mexico Trauma Center in Albuquerque. Court records listed the driver of the other vehicle as a 41-year-old woman with the initials of M.N.S. The passenger seat was occupied by a 42-year-old man with the initials of J.B. There were three minors in the back seat, ages 14, 10 and four. Police interviewed a couple after the accident who said they were driving on Route 9 about 9:10 p.m. when they came upon an accident involving two cars.

They said they observed five people in one vehicle, all of whom seemed to be seriously injured. The female witness said she then checked the other vehicle and found a man later identified as Lewis inside. She told police that he appeared to be intoxicated. She said she flagged down an oncoming vehicle and asked them to call 911. Dead at the scene were the two adults in the first car and their 14-year-old daughter.

The two other children were among those airlifted to the hospital. Lewis was also airlifted to the hospital. The extent of the injuries for the three survivors was not noted. A preliminary investigation at the scene revealed that the Lewis vehicle was driving north on Route 9 when his car swerved into the wrong land in front of the car containing the family. The driver tried to avoid contact but was unsuccessful.

The Lewis vehicle struck the other vehicle on the passenger side. Later, hospital staff informed police that Lewis had a blood alcohol level of .147 when he was admitted three hours after the accident.

A couple of days later, Lewis was interviewed at the hospital. He told police he had left Crownpoint about 8:30 p.m. and had stopped along the road to consume approximately 16 ounces of alcohol. He said he must have gone back on the road after that but he didn’t remember doing so. He said what he remembered was going to sleep after he drank the alcohol and then waking back up in the ambulance.

In his plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he sought a prison sentence of 12 years so the final sentencing was only five months higher. A sentencing memo said he had no criminal record before the accident.

His attorney described Lewis as “hard-working, kind and quiet with a gentle spirit.” He didn’t drink until he was 21 and he quit drinking a little later when he realized it was causing problems with his life and relationship with other people. But as is common among alcohol abusers, the first time he quit drinking was not the last time he quit.

His physical handicaps, however, caused him to struggle every day of his life, causing him to start drinking again in 2017, his attorney said. The memo said Lewis suffers from a rare ailment that “cases him to suffer headaches, vertigo and dizzy spells throughout the day.”

He also suffers from tinnitus, which causes him to hear clicks and buzzes throughout the day. The condition also amplifies any loud sounds that occur in his immediate surroundings. As a result, he is not able to work around machinery. Although he had three years of college, these health problems prevented him from getting a job and from 2015 until his arrest in 2018, he stayed at home acting as a caregiver for his grandmother.

The memo said Lewis is ready to accept the consequences of his actions on that day but “there is no amount of time he can spend incarcerated that would heal the wounds of the profound grief” of the family of those killed and who continue to suffer. He said after he serves his sentence, he hopes to get his college degree and then work in the home health field.

Jewelry seller’s repeat violations lead to arrest

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

LOS ANGELES – A Tuba City woman is facing federal charges for selling merchandise at the Grand Canyon without a permit. Sandra Manygoats, no age given, was arrested on Feb. 8 by a park ranger who came upon her selling jewelry to tourists. Usually a crime like this results in a citation but Manygoats was arrested because this was not the first time she had been found in the park selling without a permit.

Park Ranger Shane Barton said he was patrolling the park when he saw Manygoats surrounded by three blankets which had Navajo jewelry taped on them. He said he also saw prices near each item.

When Manygoats saw Barton, she began rolling up the blankets and stopped when Barton told her to leave the blankets alone. While checking her identification, Barton asked her if she had ever been cited in the past for selling without a permit. She responded that she had been cited before but that was a long time ago. She added that she knew it was illegal. But when Barton checked up on her, he discovered that there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest for a previous citation for selling without a permit.

Usually, persons are cited and not arrested but since she had failed to show up to deal with the previous hearing, she was arrested. Selling without a permit carries a fine of $530. Park records showed that Manygoats was cited on July 29, 2019 after being caught by another park ranger selling jewelry to tourists without a permit.

In this case, the ranger saw her actually talk to several tourists and exchange jewelry for money with two of them. He checked the park’s records and found she had been given a verbal warning to stop selling jewelry. She said at that time she realized that selling jewelry without a permit was not allowed.

Shiprock man gets 15 years for murder

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

LOS ANGELES – A Shiprock man who pleaded guilty to murdering another Shiprock man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Zachariah Stanley Joe, 29, was arrested on Jan. 3, 2019, in connection with the stabbing death of a 33-year-old man identified in court records only as B.M.M. The court records indicate that there were several witnesses to the altercation between the two men. One of the witnesses said he was drinking alcohol with B.M.M. the afternoon he was killed.

The drinking took place at the witness’s home near the That’s A Burger restaurant in Shiprock. In the early evening hours Joe had texted him saying he was leaving his job at Burger King and wanted to come over.

He arrived a little later “intoxicated and extremely upset,” according to the report, about being fired that day from his job. He continued to complain about losing his job throughout the evening, said the witness, and at one point stuck B.M.M. across the face, knocking him into a wood-burning stove and then onto the floor. He said Joe started heading for B.M.M. again planning to continue the beating but the witness said before he got there, the witness intervened, punching Joe in the face several times.

The witness said he then wrestled Joe to the ground, giving B.M.M. time to leave the residence. He said Joe then locked the door with him inside and B.M.M. and the witness outside. The witness said he then heard a lot of noises coming from inside his house indicating Joe was searching his kitchen cabinet drawers by opening them in a violent manner. The witness said he was so upset that his house had been invaded that he ran to Joe’s house nearby and broke a window.

When he got back to his house, he said he saw Joe standing over B.M.M.’s body. He said two other people showed up a little later to take B.M.M. to the hospital. A little later the police arrived and arrested him for breaking the window at Joe’s house.

One of the persons who took B.M.M. to the hospital told FBI agents later that he was driving with a friend when they saw Joe beating up B.M.M. He said he saw Joe standing and kicking B.M.M. while he was on the ground.

He said he got out of his car and approached Joe and pushed him back. He said he observed B.M.M. to be unresponsive and then heard Joe say something like B.M.M. had been stabbed. As the two were putting B.M.M. into their car, they realized that B.M.M. was bleeding under his many layers of clothes. Later when police searched the residence for evidence, they found that the wood-burning stove had been knocked off its base.

They also discovered that one of the kitchen knives was missing. In his plea agreement, Joe admitted he had stabbed B.M.M. in “callous and wanton disregard for human life.” According to court records, B.M.M. had been stabbed 10 times in the chest and neck. He died shortly after he reached the hospital. Joe was arrested that night and charged with murder. In the plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

FBI seeks help in woman’s death

ALBUQUERQUE – The FBI and Zuni Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance in finding the person or persons responsible for the death of Jolynn Marie Calavaza.

Calavaza’s body was found in a vacant lot on Zuni Pueblo on May 4, 2020. An autopsy determined Calavaza, of Zuni Pueblo, had died of multiple stab wounds. Calavaza was 46 years old. She had black hair, hazel eyes, weighed approximately 169 pounds, and was 5’4’’ tall.

Anyone with information about this death is asked to contact the FBI at 505-889-1300 or tips.fbi.gov.

Navajo Co. Sheriff’s report – Jan. 31 to Feb. 6

HOLBROOK – The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office reports the following activity from Jan. 31 through Feb. 6.

On Jan. 31, David Potter, 41, of Winslow, was arrested for damaging a phone located in one of the jail booking cells. On Feb. 2, deputies arrested a 17-year-old in Holbrook on a felony indictment from the Navajo County Superior Court. The juvenile was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Navajo County Jail.

On Feb. 1, Garilyn Kasey, 33, of Whiteriver, was arrested in Lakeside for disorderly conduct per domestic violence. Kasey was issued a criminal complaint and released without incident.

On Feb. 1, Glenda Lee, 39, of Whiteriver, was arrested for DUI, aggravated DUI, child endangerment, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Glenda was booked into the Navajo County Jail Annex in Show Low without incident.

On Feb. 4, during a traffic stop outside of Holbrook, Nizhonii Spencer, 21, of Holbrook, was driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana. She was cited and released.

On Feb. 4, 15-year-old female juvenile was reported fighting with her father for a knife. Deputies secured the scene. The juvenile was referred to Juvenile Probation for disorderly conduct.

The Navajo County Sherriff’s Office has taken six reports of fraud taking place over the phone in this week alone. Please be aware there are criminals attempting to steal information and financial information through fraudulent schemes. Do not give out your personal information over the phone without being completely sure of who is on the receiving end.

Injured hiker rescued off Mt. Elden


FLAGSTAFF – There was a search and rescue attempt Feb. 11 in the area of the Fat Man’s Loop Trail on the south side of Mt. Elden in East Flagstaff. Coconino County Sheriff’s officials say search and rescue crews, with aid from a DPS helicopter, located an injured hiker who was stranded on the mountain. Rescuers did their best to find the injured hiker by using information from the man’s cell phone to call 911 prior to his phone dying. They also gathered tips from people in the area.

Crews were unable to bring the man off the mountain that night so rescue personnel and a paramedic with the Flagstaff Fire Department made sure he was comfortable and stayed with him overnight until they could short haul him off the mountain the next morning.

The patient and crew were given sleeping bags, warm clothing, a warm meal and liquids, along with pain medication. Once off the mountain, the hiker was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center and was treated for a severely broken ankle.

Once the hiker was taken off the mountain, conditions became too windy to bring rescue crews down by helicopter. They hiked to the top of Mt. Elden and were taken off the mountain by tracked vehicles from off or Mount Elden Lookout Road.

Private funeral service for fallen police officer

ALBUQUERQUE – A private funeral service to honor the late New Mexico State Police Officer Darian Jarrott was held on Friday, Feb. 12.

Jarrott, 28, was shot and killed on Feb. 4 during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 near Akela Flats, east of Deming. The suspect in the shooting, Omar Felix Cueva, 39, of Deming, was later shot and killed by law enforcement in Las Cruces following a pursuit by multiple law enforcement agencies.

The services were held at the Lordsburg High School football field (Maverick Stadium) in Lordsburg, New Mexico. Jarrott was buried in Shakespeare Cemetery in Lordsburg.

New Mexico State Police warn of phone scams in Grants

GRANTS – The New Mexico State Police reports a phone scam in the Grants area in which a victim is contacted by phone and told they have warrant for their arrest. When the victim answers they are asked to provide their bank information and make a payment over the phone to cancel the warrant.

Scammers are also instructing the victims that they are an officer with the New Mexico State Police and the phone number they are using comes up on victim’s phone as the New Mexico State Police Grants sub-district phone number 505-287-4377. The phone number provided by the scammers is the actual phone number to the Grants state police.

If you receive a phone call or a text requesting your personal information or bank information, do not provide any information. Immediately hang up and contact the New Mexico State Police or call 911. The state police will never call you and ask for your bank information, request a payment over the phone or request your personal information to verify that you have a warrant for your arrest.

If you believe you have been a victim of the phone scam, contact the New Mexico Attorney General’s office to file a complaint online at Electronic Complaint Submission.

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