Belen chase suspect racks up felony convictions, not prison time

Mykl Chavez tried to run over an approaching officer in a stolen car

VALENCIA COUNTY, NM (KRQE) – The criminal who New Mexico State Police said tried to run over an officer in a stolen car before leading him on a chase has tried to outrun police at least two other times. Yet, when a judge had the chance to put him away last year for similar crimes, she let him walk.

NMSP Chief Pete Kassetas said enough is enough.

“What I fear is this individual is going to hurt or kill somebody and we almost had that happen yesterday,” Kassetas said.

NMSP said Mykl Chavez, 28, tried to run over an approaching officer in a stolen car south of Belen on Monday. The officer fired a shot at Chavez and missed. A chase followed that ended with a crash.

It’s his fourth arrest for fleeing from police and his latest in a long history of arrests.

“More than 10 times that I counted and it seems almost every time it’s dismissal after dismissal after dismissal,” Kassetas said. “At some point, criminals say, ‘Hey, there’s really no repercussions for getting caught.’ Until this state decides to get tougher and fix that, it’s a repetitive cycle that’s just not going to end.”

He adds dangerous repeat offenders like Chavez have no business being on the street, but releases happen all the time.

“We have a broken criminal justice system here in New Mexico,” he said.

In fact, Chavez could have been behind bars at the time of Monday’s incident.

In October 2016, Chavez faced three-and-a-half years in prison for trying to sell a stolen car and fleeing recklessly in Valencia County. Prosecutors also pointed out that Chavez had four prior felony convictions —  two for fleeing — the others for child abuse and for having a stolen car.

However, prosecutors struck a plea deal and Judge Cindy Mercer let him go on probation, putting him back on the street.


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