Two deputies in two days were assaulted during traffic stops, Tamra Ingersoll, spokeswoman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, said in a news release.
Late Monday afternoon, a K-9 deputy patrolling westbound Interstate 10 initiated a traffic stop on a pickup. The truck’s driver, Raul Hernandez-Lopez, 24, of Mexico, pulled over near milepost 188 and gave the deputy a Mexican Electoral Card as identification. When the deputy asked Hernandez-Lopez to get out of the truck, he “started to accelerate his pickup truck toward the deputy and back onto the roadway,” Ingersoll said.
“The deputy was able to jump into the dirt shoulder of the roadway just being missed by the truck’s rear tires. The deputy returned to his patrol vehicle and pursued the suspect,” Ingersoll said. That’s when Hernandez-Lopez “bailed” out of the truck and ran into the desert.
“The deputy secured the female passenger as other responding deputies chased the driver into the desert and apprehended him. Hernandez-Lopez was laughing and taunting deputies during the arrest and during the booking procedure,” she said.
He was booked into the Pinal County jail and is facing charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and failure to yield.
The second assault occurred Tuesday evening when a deputy was on patrol in the area of Tomahawk Road and Southern Avenue. The deputy initiated a traffic stop after a record’s check showed the owner of the car had his license revoked.
“The deputy activated his emergency lights and the driver tried to elude the deputy by making erratic turns and speeding. The driver stopped and exited the vehicle and tried to flee into a nearby residence,” Ingersoll said.
The deputy caught up with the driver, but before he could cuff him, the man became combative and “tried to hit the deputy in the face several times,” she said.
Apache Junction police officers arrived on scene and were able to assist the deputy in restraining the suspect.
The suspect was identified as William Thomas, 35, of Apache Junction.
“As he was being detained, Thomas yelled several derogatory remarks to the deputy. Thomas emitted a heavy odor of alcohol,” Ingersoll said.
Thomas was booked into the Pinal County jail and faces charges of aggravated assault on an officer, resisting arrest and unlawful flight.