DPS trooper injured in altercation on US 180

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A DPS trooper was hospitalized after sustaining non-life threatening injuries in pursuit of a fleeing suspect on Highway 180 between Flagstaff and Valle May 7.

DPS spokesman Bart Graves said the trooper was dispatched to investigate reports of a possibly intoxicated person walking along Highway 180 about 22 miles northwest of Flagstaff around 9 p.m. Graves said the suspect, later identified as Jorge Santana Esquivel, 29, of Flagstaff, took off on foot as the trooper was attempting to arrest him for possession of drug paraphernalia. The pursuit led into the forest, and the trooper lost his footing, fell, and hit his head on a log. Esquivel was arrested in the area a short time later by another responding officer.

Esquivel has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine), resisting arrest, aggravated assault on a police officer and escape.

Further investigation revealed Esquivel was involved in a motor vehicle collision near milepost 247 prior to contact with the trooper, and evidence at the site of the crash indicated an additional person was involved and sustained injuries. DPS continues to search for the injured person.

If anyone has any information regarding the May 7 incident or the motor vehicle crash, they are asked to contact the Arizona Department of Public Safety at 928-773-3700 or Coconino County Silent Witness at 928-774-6111.

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