Man steals BLM truck, heads south

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A man has court today in Truth or Consequences for stealing a government vehicle from Socorro and running from police.

Travis Gregory of T or C is charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and aggravated fleeing of law enforcement, both fourth-degree felonies, according to the statement of probable cause filed in Sierra County Magistrate Court.

Socorro County Undersheriff Lesmen Torres said the man stole a truck from the Bureau of Land Management’s Socorro office and drove it down Interstate 25 — the same day he had been released from custody on other charges in Socorro.

A criminal complaint filed in Socorro County Magistrate Court states the Socorro Police Department detained Gregory on July 6 because he was highly intoxicated and unable to look after himself. Gregory was charged with public nuisance.

The SPD report states police were dispatched to Cuba Road about 1:20 a.m. July 6 regarding a man trespassing. On arrival, an officer saw a man approach the patrol vehicle. The man’s face was swollen and turning purple, and he had road rash. He also wore a wristband from Socorro General Hospital bearing his name.

Gregory told the officer he had been taking a shortcut through someone’s yard in an attempt to reach the interstate, according to the SPD report. He wanted to go home to T or C but had no transportation besides walking. He said he had been in the area with his wife and several others but could not describe the vehicle his wife was driving.

Gregory appeared to be intoxicated to the point of not being able to care for himself, according to the SPD report. He was arrested for public nuisance and taken to the hospital, where the officer was provided a copy of his earlier release. Gregory had been treated for injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash that happened July 5.

During transport to jail, Gregory yelled and said he needed Xanax, according to the police report. He also kicked at the patrol vehicle’s door, threatening harm to himself and others. At the detention center, Gregory looked past officers and yelled toward the street. He said he was calling to his friend, but no one was there. Inside the jail, he continued to hallucinate, talking to his wife.

Gregory was released at 10:45 a.m. July 6 on his own recognizance, jail staff reported — on the condition that he leave town.

About 4:20 p.m. the same day, Sierra County Sheriff’s Department deputies were dispatched to I-25 regarding a stolen vehicle speeding southbound, between 100 and 120 miles per hour, according to the statement of probable cause filed in Sierra County Magistrate Court. The driver was eventually identified as Gregory.

A deputy headed north on the interstate, then heard from dispatch the stolen vehicle had pulled over with a flat tire. Dispatch soon reported the vehicle was continuing southbound in spite of the flat tire.

The deputy found the vehicle, a white pickup, and attempted to catch up, lights and sirens running. The deputy saw a large cloud of dust at Exit 92 and took the exit, noticing the pickup had gone off the road. The pickup eventually returned to the highway, and Sierra County deputies followed. The deputies watched pieces of the pickup’s right rear tire come off as it drove down the road.

The pickup continued south, swerved across both lanes of traffic and crossed a bridge. It then went off the right side of the highway, according to the statement, and crashed into some bushes. A man got out and ran into the bushes, and deputies ran after him.

The man climbed two barbed wire fences trying to get away, according to the statement. One deputy deployed a Taser, but the Taser wire broke due to the distance. Another deputy then caught up with the man and tackled him to the ground.

Once Gregory was in custody, Sierra County deputies met with witnesses. They said the speeding pickup passed vehicles on the shoulder of the highway and ran several vehicles off the road. Other witnesses reported the truck almost struck their vehicle, causing them to go onto the shoulder of the road.

The Sierra County deputies then contacted a BLM ranger, who said the truck belonged to his department and had been stolen earlier in the day from the yard of the Socorro BLM office. The BLM ranger signed a consent to search the pickup, according to the statement of probable cause, but deputies found nothing of interest. The truck was then towed back to the Socorro BLM office, and Gregory was booked into the Sierra County Detention Center.