Man arrested after police chase comes to fiery end

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By Ryan Lowery

A 26-year-old Las Vegas man is scheduled to appear in San Miguel Magistrate Court next week to face several charges resulting from a police chase late last month. The most serious charge is aggravated fleeing of law enforcement, a fourth degree felony.

According to an arrest affidavit, the morning of Sept. 29, a Las Vegas Police officer spotted a man believed to be Andy Lovato — who had an active warrant for his arrest — driving a green Toyota.

The officer initiated a traffic stop near the 1900 block of New Mexico Ave., and the driver of the Toyota turned onto Moreno Street and stopped. However, according to court documents, as the officer approached the vehicle, the driver took off. The officer returned to his patrol car and followed the Toyota as it wound through Westside neighborhoods, eventually turning back onto New Mexico Avenue.

According to police, the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it attempted to pass another vehicle near the intersection of New Mexico Avenue and Perez Street, crossing the center line of New Mexico Avenue, traveling in the opposite lane of traffic.

The Toyota then collided with another vehicle that was attempting to make a turn across New Mexico Ave.

Following the crash, the Toyota did not stop. Instead, the driver continued south on New Mexico Avenue, turned onto Grand and then merged onto Interstate 25. LVPD pursued the Toyota on I-25 as it began to smoke. A rear tire also began to break away from its rim.

New Mexico State Police took over the chase and located the vehicle near Exit 337, engulfed in flames. Lovato was not in or near the car.

Around that time, LVPD dispatch received a call from Lovato who said his Toyota had been stolen. According to police, he also stated he was aware it was involved in a crash.

Police dispatchers told Lovato to go to the Las Vegas Police station to report the vehicle’s theft. Police then arrested Lovato.

Lovato was booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center where he is being held without bond. He is scheduled to appear in San Miguel Magistrate Court on Oct. 15, and on Oct. 23.

Along with the felony aggravated fleeing of law enforcement, Lovato is charged with misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. Lovato was also cited for driving with a suspended license and not having insurance.