ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico State Police officer shot during a traffic stop in February talked publicly Thursday for the first time. He testified during a probation violation hearing for his suspected shooter, Caleb Elledge.
Prosecutors argue he should be sent back to prison for the other cases in which he was given a second chance. “As soon as our vehicles came to a stop, there was gunfire from that vehicle,” said Lieutenant Jeremy Vaughn Thursday. He testified about what happened on February 11 that led to him being shot.
It all started at Mr. Gasmart near Edgewood. “I had just dropped off my six-year-old son at school and the clerk came to me and said there was a young lady that went to the bathroom and she believed was using drugs in the bathroom,” said Vaughn.
Elledge was out on probation for drugs, shooting at a motor vehicle, and fleeing convictions when state police say he and Allana Martinez led state police on a chase in Sedillo Hill. “It was my decision to make a traffic stop with the silver Cadillac that I was told by the clerk was also occupied by a male driver,” continued Vaughn.
Speeds reached 85 to 100 miles per hour. Lieutenant Vaughn did not want Elledge to escape on the interstate. “At the intersection of Sedillo Hill and Route 66, I initiated a PIT maneuver to the driver from entering I-40,” Vaughn said.
He says he was able to get the car pinned to a guard rail. “I returned gunfire and there was another gunfire and I was stuck in the left side of the neck and was unable to pursue the male driver and the female passenger who fled on foot,” said Vaughn.
Elledge and Martinez were captured the next day. “I don’t want to minimize anything the officer experienced but I do want to emphasize that, that case is still pending and he is presumed innocent,” a defense attorney said.
Elledge did admit, however, to absconding while on probation, admitting to cutting off his ankle monitor and saying he was nervous to go back to jail. “I just want to apologize for taking time out of your day, out of your life, to come sentence me because [of] my mess-ups, my screw-ups,” said Elledge.
Thursday Elledge tried to convince the judge to give him another break. “I’m hoping that we can come to some kind of conclusion in my new case to send me to an inpatient or something because I’ve never had it,” Elledge said.
While the judge said he was sympathetic to the hardships of drug addiction, he revoked his probation and ordered him to spend the next six-and-a-half years in state prison.
Lieutenant Vaughn did give an update on his recovery. “Eleven days later, UNM Clinic remove the bullet from my back and I’ve been trying to recover ever since,” he said.
Elledge’s criminal history dates back to 2015. At one point, he faced more than eight years in prison but a plea deal led to just one year behind bars. That was followed by three probation violations. He was on the run for 10 months before the shooting involving Lieutenant Vaughn. His trial for that case is scheduled for May 2023.