Police Blotter: Woman leads police on high-speed chase


Navajo Nation Police, along with McKinley County Sheriff’s deputies and New Mexico State Police, helped apprehend a woman who was in Tohatchi, New Mexico, threatening people with a gun about midnight on Oct. 8.

According to an incident report from the sheriff’s office, all three agencies were dispatched to the area as Metro Dispatch reported to the officers that a “man” was threatening to shoot any police officer who showed up at the scene.

As sheriff deputies got close to the area, Navajo police told them to wait for them just south of Tohatchi.

The sheriff’s units complied and soon a couple of state police cars showed up and they waited as well.

Sheriff’s Deputy Johnson Lee said after a few minutes they saw a car speeding by them fast going south followed by a couple of Navajo police units in pursuit so the deputies and state police joined the pursuit with their lights and sirens on.

A few miles south of Tohatchi on U.S. Highway 491, Lee said he saw the car being pursued stopped on the side of the road. He heard the Navajo police officers giving commands for the driver to get out of the vehicle.

But instead of complying, the driver started the car again and sped south at a high rate of speed so all of the police units once again began chasing the vehicle.

When the vehicle came to the turnoff to Window Rock, it turned west on State Highway 264 and then pulled into Tso Drive and stopped.

Lee said the driver then grabbed a handgun that had apparently been sitting on the passengers seat and held it up so officers could see it. The driver then started the car and drove east on Tso Drive some more before getting on another road that led back to State Highway 264.

The car went back to U.S. 491 heading north and turned off on a road at about the 28-mile marker. The car went on that road for about eight miles, Lee said, before turning onto a dirt road, which was blocked off with a steel fence.

“The suspect tried driving through it but was unsuccessful,” said Lee. “The suspect then tried driving around it but got his vehicle high centered.”
At that point, said Lee, all of the police units had arrived at the scene and the officers got out of their vehicles as the Navajo police issued commands, saying that the suspect’s name was a woman’s and her name was Loren Manuelito.

Manuelito was still in her vehicle and as the officers approached put a shotgun through the driver’s side window and pointed it in the air.

“She continued to do that several more times switching from the driver side to the passenger side,” said Lee.

She also still had the handgun and pointed that out the windows as well.

Lee said they stayed at the scene until a Navajo SWAT team showed up and took over, finally getting Manuelito to surrender.

She was then transported to jail. The charges against her were not available by press time Wednesday.

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Categories: Police Blotter

About Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.