Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald:
Mesa man booked for aggravated assault and DUI
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – There are sheriffs in our state who like to wear cowboy hats and act tough but are really just politicians talking out the side of their mouths. Then there’s the real deal like Graham County Sheriff P.J. Allred.
Yes Allred wears a cowboy hat and rides horses in the parades, but he is a real rancher, you see. And on top of his daily administrative duties, Sheriff Allred also performs patrols and goes on high-speed chases.
The latter is what occurred Thursday night when an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper attempted to stop a grey, BMW in Greenlee County for speeding and an unsafe lane change. Instead of yielding for the trooper, the BMW headed south on U.S. Highway 191 from the 3-Way area and headed through the Black Hills and onto “The Stretch” at roughly 125 mph.
Deputies from the Graham County Sheriff’s Office joined the chase at about 6:38 p.m.
The DPS trooper lost sight of the suspect’s vehicle, but a GCSO deputy advised the vehicle was westbound on U.S. 70 near San Jose and that the BMW had run him off the road, almost hitting him. The deputy also said the BMW was swerving into oncoming traffic. At that time, the decision was made to terminate the pursuit due to the danger the driver imposed. The following is part of the narrative from the deputy.
“In the area of 4th Ave and Highway 70, I observed several vehicles yielding to my lights and siren. I observed the fourth vehicle of the group swerve towards me. I applied my brakes and swerved off the roadway to avoid hitting the vehicle in a head-on collision. I temporarily lost control of my patrol vehicle on the shoulder of the highway. As I gained control of my vehicle I observed a break in traffic and conducted a U-turn.
As I made my turn, I observed the grey BMW sedan also make a U-turn and drive back at me nearly striking my vehicle. I began pursuit of the vehicle with my lights and siren still activated. I observed the vehicle swerve aggressively at oncoming traffic, forcing drivers off the roadway.”
Shortly after terminating the pursuit, Sheriff Allred received a tip that the BMW might have turned off U.S. Highway 70 on a dirt road in the area of milepost 347. Sheriff Allred and a GCSO sergeant then drove south on the dirt road and within a couple of miles came upon vehicle debris. A few more miles down the road and Sheriff Allred located the BMW crashed in the desert.
The car was empty, but Sheriff Allred and the sergeant yelled for the suspects to come out and two males roughly 50-75 yards away stood up out of the desert with their hands held high. An open box of Michelob Ultra beer and a can of beer was located near the vehicle.
The registered owner of the BMW, Gabriel Jacob Averhoff, 20, of Mesa, was arrested and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on charges of DUI, aggravated assault on a police officer, and aggravated DUI. The second subject was turned over to the DPS and then released.