Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Prosecutors allege Ignacio Miranda was high on fentanyl when he led police on a high-speed chase through Safford and Thatcher in July. He has been charged with multiple felonies.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A man who led police on a high-speed chase of 100 mph through a 35-mph zone in Safford has been charged with multiple felonies.
Ignacio Miranda, 36, of Safford, has been charged with possession of a narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement, aggravated DUI, reckless driving, and exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 20 mph.
The charges stem from an incident in the early morning hours of July 16, when a Safford officer initially performed a traffic stop on a white, 2004 Saturn Ion for having an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. While the freshener is designed to be hung for such a purpose, in Arizona it is illegal to have items hanging from a rearview mirror while a vehicle is in operation.
The Saturn pulled over in the 700 block of 3rd Street at about 12:30 a.m., and the driver, identified as Miranda, was reportedly told of the infraction. At that time, Miranda allegedly requested a police supervisor respond to the location.
However, when Miranda was asked to step out of the vehicle for a DUI investigation, he reportedly put the car into gear and fled.
Officers pursued with emergency lights and sirens on as Miranda drove at high speeds down 3rd Street and then onto Central Avenue.
The pursuit made its way down the side streets until Miranda hit U.S. Highway 70 and went westbound at speeds of about 100 mph through Safford into Thatcher, where a Graham County Sheriff’s Office deputy was waiting. The deputy parked his duty vehicle on the north side of the road near the intersection with 3rd Avenue, and, instead of stopping, Miranda drove into the oncoming traffic lanes to avoid the deputy.
A Safford sergeant then terminated the pursuit since the driver had been identified. However, officers still followed at a slower pace without emergency lights and sirens and an attempt to locate (ATL) was placed on the Saturn.
The vehicle was soon found off Main Street in Thatcher, but Miranda was not in the car. A perimeter was set up, and the GCSO K9 officer Kukui tracked Miranda to a nearby RV trailer, where he was located and taken into custody. A subsequent search of the Saturn yielded a partially burned blue Oxycodone pill that is likely counterfeit and laced with fentanyl, and some tin foil with apparent drug residue.
Miranda allegedly admitted to smoking fentanyl earlier in the day and failed field sobriety tests. His blood was taken for testing purposes prior to being booked into jail.
He is being held on a $2,500 cash or paper bond and is next scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial conference on Sept. 19, starting at 9:30 a.m.