Impaired driver flees cops in two different vehicles

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Randy Morales

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A man who officers believed to be driving under the influence of heroin fled from DUI stops in two different vehicles back-to-back in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 1.

Randy Alexander Morales, 27, was booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on two charges of failure to comply with a police officer, resisting arrest, and DUI.

According to a Safford Police report, an officer observed a silver Ford pickup truck without any license plates pull out of the parking lot of the GS Market at about 2 a.m. The officer followed the truck and activated the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights. The truck then immediately accelerated and attempted to lose the officer through an alley between 6th and 7th avenues.

The truck pulled over at an address on S. 7th Avenue and the driver, observed to be Morales, fled on foot. After a short chase, Morales evaded the officer, who then returned to the truck, which came back as having no insurance or registration.

While waiting for a tow truck, the officer then heard radio chatter regarding another officer attempting to stop a silver, 2005 Cadillac Escalade SUV which failed to yield. The registered owner of the Escalade – Morales’ mother – is also the registered owner of the truck. Additionally, the Escalade also had canceled insurance.

The second officer and a third officer followed the Escalade as it stopped at various stop signs as it traveled south on 7th Avenue then west on 12th Street and then south on 8th Avenue, all while having officers with their emergency lights activated behind him.

Morales parked the Escalade in a parking lot in the 1200 block of 8th Avenue and attempted to get inside his mother’s apartment. However, as he opened the door, an officer tackled Morales and the pair went tumbling inside the apartment, according to police reports.

Once there, the two officers began to take Morales into custody against the will of his mother and sister, who were allegedly “standing over the top” of the officers yelling at them. During the interaction, one of the officers reported he pushed Morales’ mother away after they refused to move back.

After taking Morales into custody, his mother advised the officers couldn’t tow the vehicles because they were her property. The officer informed the owner that since Morales was driving them without insurance both vehicles would be towed. The woman then advised that her chest was hurting from where the officer pushed her but she denied medical attention.

Morales allegedly admitted to recently using heroin and meth and said he also uses Suboxone, which contains both buprenorphine and the opiate antidote naloxone and is used by people to manage opiate dependence. The officer noted Morales appeared to be under the influence of heroin due to several observed clues. 

After the officers extracted a blood sample for DUI testing purposes, Morales was booked into the jail without further incident.

For those experiencing opiate dependency and would like information on how to quit, the Gila Herald’s article here gives information about two different outpatient recovery facilities that are now open in Safford.