Alleged drunk driver tased while fleeing arrest

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – Attempting to flee from the police after they deem a suspect likely guilty of driving impaired does not exactly exude innocence. And it’s a good way to get hurt, too.

Manuel Lorenzo Salazar learned that lesson the hard way late Tuesday night when he was tackled and tased during a DUI arrest.

According to a Safford Police report, Salazar was seen driving erratically at about 11:50 p.m. along Relation Street. The officer reported Salazar was swerving and then suddenly came to a stop in the westbound lane and turned southbound onto 14th Avenue without entering the turn lane or signaling.

During the traffic stop, Salazar allegedly admitted to consuming “a couple shots” of liquor and put himself as a “5” on a scale of 1-10 as to how drunk he was.

After failing field sobriety tests, Salazar was given a portable breath test that registered his breath/alcohol concentration at .13. One of the two officers present then attempted to place Salazar under arrest, but the suspect jerked his hand away and began running from the officers, according to the report.

An officer managed to grab Salazar’s T-shirt, but the suspect slipped out of his shirt and continued to flee. The same officer then tackled Salazar and they both went plummeting off the sidewalk and into water drainage area.

Salazar continued to resist, however, and managed to get to his feet even with an officer attempting to hold him down. That’s when the second officer deployed his TASER, which struck Salazar in his torso and ended the struggle.

During the melee, the first officer’s body camera, which was attached to his head, fell and the officer suffered two small abrasions to his right elbow and a large, swollen bruise. Salazar reportedly suffered two large abrasions to his forehead, an abrasion to the crown of his head, several large abrasions to his shoulders and elbows, and two minor puncture wounds from where the TASER struck.

Paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance examined Salazar at the scene and cleared him. Salazar was then taken to the Safford Police Department, where he consented to have his blood taken for DUI testing purposes. Afterward, he was released with pending charges of DUI and resisting arrest.