A high-speed chase ended in the death of a Roswell man, Robert Vigil, 28.
The chase began around 6:45 p.m., Wednesday, on North Atkin son Avenue near the intersection of Country Club Road, when the Roswell Police Department received a call about a man driving erratically. The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office picked up pursuit as the driver left the city limits.
“When you head north on Atkinson, the road dead ends. He went through the barricade into the river bed. The police followed,” said Sheriff Rob Coon. “Both the truck and the police vehicle got stuck in the river bed. His (Vigil’s) vehicle was four-wheel drive so he got loose, but PD had to call for assistance.”
According to Coon, the driver continued along the river bed heading toward the Roswell Mall. “He got to the region of the homeless camp near the mall and he hit one of the tents. He hit one lady, bumped her, but luckily no one was injured.”
The driver left the river bed near the mall and drove through the parking lot. “One of our deputies picked him up. He actually stopped for our deputy, and he waited until she got out of the car before he took off,” said Coon.
The deputy followed as Vigil ran the red light at Pine Lodge Road and Main Street. “By the time he reached Charlie’s Restaurant, he was going between 100 and 105 miles an hour,” Coon said.
During the course of the pursuit, Vigil ran people off the road. He crossed the median, causing other drivers to take evasive action. “He hit the guard rail at mile marker 117, two miles north of the overpass,” said Coon.
The Sheriff said that Vigil slammed into the guard rail so hard that he knocked the radio out of the dash. “The vehicle rolled, splitting in two, with the chassis, engine, transmission and bed separating from the cab. The driver was ejected on the second roll.”
Vigil was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by Deputy OMI Jesse Davis.
The State Police ruled that “the contributing factors to this crash are high speed, reckless driving and failure to utilize seatbelt.”
Coon noted, “In all, the chase covered 2 miles, and lasted only 4 minutes, with the original call coming in at 6:45 and pursuit ending at 6:49. He could have killed all those people, the people at the homeless camp, the woman he bumped and all the people on 285.”