Wanted man released after jail refuses intake due to alcohol level

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: A wanted man who was apprehended after fleeing from a police officer was refused at the Graham County Adult Detention Facility due to the level of his alcohol toxicity.

By Jon Johnson


SAFFORD – A man who made like a track star and ran from police literally on the Safford Middle School track was released from custody Jan. 5 after being refused at the jail due to his level of intoxication. 

According to a Safford Police report, an officer was parked in the 1000 block of 8th Avenue at about 2:23 a.m. when he noticed a man cross the street and enter the Safford Middle School recreation field, run to a building near the track and stop. 

The officer reported that he pulled up to the area, announced himself and inquired what the subject was doing. At that point, the man, later identified as James Anthony Olivas, 31, of Safford, began running away from the officer. 

Since the track gate was open, the officer simply drove through and followed Olivas as he ran approximately 100 yards before collapsing on the ground. When questioned why he was running, Olivas allegedly responded that he was racing someone. When told nobody else was present, Olivas replied they were there prior to the officer. 

The officer was then advised that Olivas had an active warrant out of Thatcher Municipal Court for failure to pay fines relating to a conviction for DUI and possession of drug paraphernalia. After Olivas blew a .24 breath/alcohol concentration on a portable breath test, he was taken to the Graham County Adult Detention Facility to be booked on his warrant. 

However, jail staff also administered portable breath two tests that registered .33 and .30 breath/alcohol concentration, which is higher than the .28 allowable limit it has for booking without being medically assessed by a doctor.  

The officer agreed to wait until another portable breath test could be administered but the jail informed him that medical staff would not accept Olivas without medical clearance from a doctor. 

The officer then made sure County Dispatch still had the warrant listed as valid and returned Olivas to his residence and released him. 

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