Courier staff writer
ALAMOSA — A man who led a police officer on a chase through town following a minor traffic infraction will be celebrating his 33rd birthday from the confines of the Alamosa County Detention Center.
Gabriel Martinez was sentenced Dec. 20 to two consecutive 60-day terms in jail, plus 10 concurrent days, for resisting arrest, driving under the influence and driving under restraint.
By pleading guilty to the three offenses, the Monte Vista man sidestepped six additional charges, including criminal impersonation, reckless endangerment and obstructing a peace officer.
Martinez racked up the charges during the late-night hours of Aug. 17, when an officer spotted a white van turning from First Street onto State Avenue without stopping.
The officer initially planned to stop the driver for failing to obey a traffic control device.
When he activated the emergency lights on his vehicle, the van slowed down and began to pull off to the right side of the street.
Before the officer could notify dispatchers, though, the van veered back into a traffic lane and began to accelerate away from the scene.
The officer followed, leading to a six-minute chase through residential neighborhoods. According to a police report on the incident, the driver of the van made several dangerous maneuvers as he attempted to evade the officer.
The pursuit ended only when the van drove off the roadway and came to a stop in a field near the 1700 block of State Avenue.
A man got out of the vehicle and ran off to the east, ignoring the officer’s commands to stop and hit the ground.
The man did stop, momentarily, when he tripped on a fence. But when the officer approached him, the man tried to stand up and run away.
At that point, the officer stepped back and drew a Taser, warning the man that he would be zapped if he continued to resist.
The man once again tried to stand up, so the officer fired the device.
The next time the officer asked him to place his hands behind his back, the man complied, according to a police report.
At first, the noticeably intoxicated man identified himself as Rodrigo Ibirra.
A dispatcher’s search for that name came up clean, but the officer soon identified Martinez by the tribal tattoos on his arms and a cross tattoo on his ankle.
The real giveaway turned out to be a tattoo splayed out across his stomach, which spelled the suspect’s actual last name in full.
A background check revealed that Martinez’s license had been revoked, and that five additional restraints were active.
The officer also learned that Martinez was wanted on three active warrants, including a Mesa County Sheriff’s Office warrant for first-degree criminal trespassing of a dwelling.
Martinez was subsequently taken into custody without further incident.
In addition to the jail time for the Alamosa County offenses, the court gave Martinez credit for 14 days served. He was also ordered to complete Level 2 education/ therapy, perform 48 hours of useful public service, pay all fines and costs, and refrain from drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs or violating the law.