ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A wild chase through the streets of Roswell Thursday had officers chasing one of their own vehicles. A suspect stole it, after attacking an officer. “He was trying to get away, the only thing is now you’re in a cop car with red lights on it, you’re not going to get away,” said Chaves County Sheriff Mike Herrington.
A Roswell Police Officer was questioning a male on a bicycle at the intersection of Albuquerque and Virginia Thursday afternoon. When the male took three tennis ball size rocks from his pocket and threw them at the officer hitting him twice in the head and once in the arm. The suspect then stole the officer’s cruiser.
“One of the things about this guy is to start it off he ended up actually punching, hitting the officer first and that’s when he went over and got into his cop car,” Herrington said. Herrington said Luiz Gauna, 33, had no regard for public safety by reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour while driving through the streets of Roswell. Guana also crossed into oncoming traffic to avoid spike strips. He came close to running into numerous vehicles.
“It was kinda crazy, I was the last one at work and I was putting my dog in the truck and I heard sirens and I saw the car swerve,” said Seth Vannote.
Guana then led authorities onto 285 South and headed towards Artesia at speeds of 120 miles per hour. The suspect proceeded to drive the wrong way into oncoming traffic. The hour-long chase ended when Guana struck a Dodge pickup head-on. He attempted to flee on foot but was immediately taken into custody, and later flown to an El Paso hospital with head trauma.
The driver of the pickup was released from the hospital with only minor injuries. Witnesses to the pursuit said they had no idea police were actually chasing a suspect they just thought it was another cop running with lights and sirens.
“I didn’t think it was a suspect. I thought it was a police that lost control,” said Vannote.
The Roswell Police officer who was assaulted was treated and released with minor injuries. Gauna will be booked into jail when released from the hospital. He has a long criminal record in Albuquerque that includes attempted murder, aggravated assault and escape.