Left in Parking Lot, Prisoner Briefly Escapes

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A Rio Arriba County Detention Center inmate who allegedly hit a sheriff’s deputy with his own patrol car in a July attempt to evade arrest briefly escaped jail custody earlier this month after being left unattended in the jail’s parking lot.

The circumstances of her escape are unclear, but court documents state Velarde woman Faustina Martinez, 22, was being transported back from Hoy Recovery, Inc. after being denied entry to the program. In late October, she was given conditions of release including completion of a treatment program with Hoy Recovery.

She allegedly fled the jail’s parking lot on foot Nov. 12 on the way back from this visit. Prosecutors’ motion to revoke her previous conditions of release state she was taken back into custody the same evening, after a deputy responded to a call about someone banging on a homeowner’s door demanding to use their phone. Dispatch logs show at least five deputies searched for her starting around 4 p.m. and that a case worker had taken her back from Hoy.

On July 8, she allegedly escaped her handcuffs in the back of Deputy Dwayne Epling’s vehicle, opened the passenger door, and climbed into the front seat. Epling ran back toward the vehicle and Martinez hit him and allegedly attempted to hit another man on the scene, before driving through an alfalfa field and crashing into a ditch a quarter mile away.

The incident netted Martinez charges including aggravated battery on a peace officer with great bodily harm, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, escape from custody, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, criminal damage for destruction of the alfalfa field, and extreme cruelty to animals—Epling’s police dog was in the car during the incident. It appears she may have been initially arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, but her indictment is unclear.

She had been released from custody just five hours earlier for drug charges, aggravated battery and attempted robbery.

Martinez faces late January trials for the July 8 case and her preceding charges. Court records show no additional charges for her Nov. 12 escape.

Jail Administrator Larry DeYapp could not be reached for comment by press time. Public records requests for reports on both attempted escapes were filed Tuesday.

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