ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A suspected car thief pulled a fast one on a New Mexico State Police officer back in January. One minute he was handcuffed in the back of a squad car, the next he was driving away with that police unit, and it was all caught on camera.
State Police Officer Jason Gallegos parked right outside Philips 66 in Lemitar, New Mexico around 9:30 a.m. He was looking for a man he thought was inside the gas station.
“I was just here at the gas station and I saw him jump out of the car and he just started counting change.,” Ofc. Gallegos said. “I saw he was driving that, so I just came and ran the tag and it came back 75 (stolen).”
The suspect was 36-year-old Paul Foster. When police finally found him in a field nearby, they questioned him about the car.
“So what were you driving when you came over here?” Officer Gallegos said.
“I wasn’t driving anything,” Foster replied.
Police didn’t buy it. They put Foster in handcuffs and sat him in the back of a police car. He fidgeted the entire time he was back there. He also made the officer a promise, “From me to you, I’m not going to pull nothing.”
But when he got the chance, he slipped his handcuffs and escaped from the back seat to the front. As the officer approached the car, Foster put it in drive and took off.
The officer fired his gun, but Foster got away. He led police on a nearly two minute chase, weaving and swerving all over the road until he took a dive into a ditch, police car and all.
When police caught up to Foster, they ordered him to the ground. He admitted to officers that he was on the run from police out of state.
“Sir, I apologize, I did not want to do that, but they’re going to kill me, if you let them take me back,” Foster said. “Cops from Stevenson, I swear to god they’re going to kill me if you take me back there. I am not playing.”
He also had a special reason as to why he didn’t want to face police officers in Washington. He told officers he’d had an affair with an officer’s wife.
No one was hurt during the incident. Foster was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on an officer, along with six other charges.
Police also found two stolen firearms in the white Honda. Foster is still behind bars in Socorro awaiting trial in February.
At the time of his arrest he was wanted on two felony warrants out of California and Washington.