Video shows NMSP officer use SUV to stop accused drunk driver

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Dashcam video shows a New Mexico State Police officer using his own car to stop an accused drunk driver who police say is responsible for three hit-and-run crashes.

New Mexico State Police say the incident is a reminder for drivers to watch out on the roads and to stay away from drinking and driving.

NMSP Senior Patrolman Toby Lafave caught the incident on his dash camera in November, just two days before Thanksgiving. Video shows the moments Lafave used his patrol SUV to perform a PIT maneuver on the accused drunk driver, Gifford Bunnie.

“He didn’t even know where he was coming from,” said Officer Lafave of the suspect. “At one point, he tried telling me he was not the driver of the vehicle.”

An officer who’s made more than 160 DWI arrests in 2019, Lafave came into contact with the drunk driver around 5:40 p.m. on I-25 northbound near the Jefferson Street exit.

“I smelt the smell of burning rubber,” Lafave said, recalling the incident.

The officer eventually found a brand-new but heavily damage Chevy Sonic driving north on I-25.

“The front left tire was completely gone,” Lafave said. “The front left corner of the vehicle was trashed, it appeared that he had struck something.”

NMSP says Gifford Bunnie was behind the wheel of the damaged car. As Lafave attempted to pull Bunnie over, his car took a sharp right turn, driving up the dirt median of the Jefferson Street exit.

“Lights and sirens going, I was feet behind him,” Lafave said. “It was clear that I was trying to stop him.”

After the driver turned on to Jefferson Street, Lafave used a PIT maneuver on the car to stop it. His instincts told him Bunnie’s vehicle wasn’t the only wrecked car in the area.

“Come to find out, Mr. Bunnie was involved in a hit-and-run, he actually hit three vehicles,” Lafave said.

According to a criminal complaint, Bunnie blew a 0.16 in a breathalyzer machine, which is around twice the legal limit.

“He was heading to Farmington, God knows he wouldn’t have made it,” Lafave said.

Out of all of those crashes that Bunnie is accused of causing, police say no one was hurt. Bunnie has pleaded “not guilty” to aggravated DWI and several other charges in the case.

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