SAFFORD — A driver suspected of leaving an accident scene after drinking racked up several more charges by fleeing police in his car and on foot after he was handcuffed.
According to Safford Police reports, two officers in the west parking lot of Safford High School heard what sounded like a vehicle collision, then saw a maroon Dodge Challenger heading south at a high rate of speed and heard something dragging under it.
Giving chase, the officers briefly lost the vehicle in the area of the Mount Graham Apartments. Heading west on Golf Course Road, they located the Challenger on the side of the road near Daley Estates in Thatcher. The Challenger then continued west toward Mount Graham Golf Course, sparks flying from its undercarriage, and crashed into a stone wall in front of the clubhouse. According to a police report, the vehicle’s front end briefly went vertical.
Two male subjects fled the Challenger on foot, and the officers split up to pursue them. The passenger, identified as Jason Morales, subsequently complied with an officer’s order to get on the ground when advised the officer would deploy his TASER. Morales reportedly said he and the driver, identified as Paul Still, had started drinking earlier in Morenci and continued to drink in Safford.
The second officer chased down Still and handcuffed him after a brief struggle. Then, as he moved to hand Still off to a Graham County Sheriff’s Deputy, Still took off running again. Multiple officers pursued him across the golf course until he tripped and was subdued a second time. There was reportedly an odor of intoxicants on his breath; according to a police report, a 12-pack of beer and an open Jack Daniel’s bottle were found in the Challenger.
Still allegedly told police he had been in a collision near Walmart after drinking at JD’s Bar and Grill. He and Morales said they contacted the driver of the other vehicle, then left. Still reportedly admitted driving as fast as 80 mph and said he and Morales were “paranoid” after the accident.
Morales reported suffering a shoulder injury during the crash into the wall. He and Still were evaluated by paramedics and medically cleared. Morales was then released from the scene.
Still was booked into the Graham County Jail for unlawful flight from law enforcement, escape and resisting arrest. He also faces a possible DUI charge, pending the results of a blood sample that was sent to DPS.