Navajo police car struck by suspected drunk driver

WINDOW ROCK

A Navajo Nation Police vehicle was hit by an alleged drunk driver on Monday night in Chinle, Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco said.

According to the chief, Officer Nikela Simeona was transporting a suspect when the accident occurred on U.S Highway 191 about three miles north of Chinle.

According to a June 12 incident report by Sgt. Kara Tilden, Simeona was traveling southbound when he noticed a maroon Toyota Corolla pulled off the highway. Simeona then slowed to 50 mph as he continued to notice the car. He then crossed into the northbound lane “for cautionary reasons,” Tilden wrote in her report.

As Simeona began to drive by the Corolla, the vehicle, driven by 26-year-old Carlton Skenandore of Chinle, suddenly pulled onto the highway. The officer attempted to avoid a collision and “quickly drove off the shoulder of the highway, but was still struck by the vehicle on the front passenger door,” Tilden’s incident report reads.

Simeona, who was not injured, immediately notified the dispatcher of the accident and checked on his prisoner, who was “OK.” He then went to check on the occupants of the Corolla, Tilden continued in her report.

Simeona noticed Skenandore “was under (the) influence” and had detained him when Tilden said she arrived on scene.

Tilden said Skenandore refused to take a field sobriety test. The driver “admitted to drinking six cans of beer beverages,” Tilden wrote.

The driver was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and no driver’s license. Skenandore’s passenger was arrested on a charge of public intoxication.

The case will be referred to the prosecutor’s office in Chinle, Tilden said.


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