SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pinal County sheriffs arrested a man Monday after a pursuit that left a 19-year-old woman injured and the vehicle he was driving wrecked into a concrete pillar, according to a press release by Tim Gaffney.
A PCSO homicide detective was driving an unmarked vehicle in San Tan Valley, Ariz., at 4 p.m. Aug. 5 near Gantzel and Bella Vista Roads. The news release says the detective noticed the truck in front of the sheriff vehicle commit several traffic violations which were consistent with a possibly impaired driver.
The detective attempted to initiate a traffic stop but instead the 2000 Ford Expedition sped up and fled. A marked PCSO vehicle driven by a deputy then picked up the pursuit.
Deputies say the suspect vehicle eventually pulled into the Fry's parking lot off of Hunt Highway. There the driver lost control of his vehicle and drove directly into the concrete pillar which held a light pole. After the collision, the driver climbed out of the truck and took off on foot.
When medics arrived on scene they assisted Gabriella Hernandez, 19, of STV who was the female passenger in the truck. She was suffering from head trauma due to not being restrained and hitting the windshield during the collision.
Along with witnesses in the Fry's parking lot, residents in the Johnson Ranch subdivision encountered the suspect who was trying to flee. The suspect, 29-year-old Gabriel E. Leon, was found in the backyard of a residence in the 800 block of Denim Trail.
"After crashing into the concrete pillar, Gabriel Leon could see his female passenger was seriously injured as a result of his reckless driving and then attempts to flee," Sheriff Paul Babeau said in the press release. "Instead of staying and assisting her, he took the cowardly action of running away and trying to avoid being arrested. Thanks to my deputies and these alert courageous citizens, he is now in custody where he won't be able to run from the judicial system."
Leon was taken into custody following an investigation that determined he threatened a homeowners and citizens. He was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for a felony probation warrant for armed robbery and also the new charges of aggravated assault, unlawful felony fight, leaving the scene of an injury accident, possession of drug paraphernalia, trespassing, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.