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New Mexico cop run over at Sonic Drive-In hospitalized with ‘serious’ injuries, hunt for suspect intensifies

Written by on February 16, 2021

A Las Cruces police officer remains hospitalized with “serious” injuries after he was struck by a motorist who accelerated away from a Sonic Drive-In Monday afternoon, police said. 

The officer, whose identity has not been released, was taken to Mountainview Regional Medical Center. Police said his injuries are serious, but not life-threatening.

The suspect, who police have identified as 40-year-old Mark James Esquibel, remains at large. An investigation was launched after he fled the scene.

Mark James Esquibel

Mark James Esquibel (Las Cruces Police Department)

Mark James Esquibel, whose last known address was on the 5100 block of Central Road in Las Cruces, is believed to be the driver who refused to cooperate with officers at the Sonic Drive-In, at 2925 N. Main St., and then struck a Las Cruces police officer as he drove away from the scene.

Esquibel is described as Hispanic, 6-feet tall, and weighing approximately 195 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. Police say Esquibel has a warrant for his arrest for violating terms of his probation.

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Around 4 p.m. on Monday, Las Cruces police officers were dispatched to conduct a welfare check on an individual who was parked in a stall at the Sonic restaurant.

Officers made contact with the driver and determined there was probable cause to take him into custody. Police said Esquibel was uncooperative and refused to exit his vehicle.

Officers used a Taser on Esquibel but that was ineffective. Esquibel then put the vehicle into drive and accelerated from the stall striking one of the officers.

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Police said “at least one round was fired” during the incident. Esquibel’s vehicle was located a short time later near the intersection of Winton Circle and Neleigh Drive. Investigators determined Esquibel had gotten a ride from there. His whereabouts remain unknown.

Police are asking that anyone with information on Esquibel’s whereabouts to call the department at 575-526-0795.

Fox News’ Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.

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