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Chase ends in rollover, a number of charges

A Saturday night chase through Clovis streets exceeded 80 mph and forced vehicles off the road before the driver crashed in a rollover north of town, Clovis police said.

“When he was initially stopped, the one thing he was facing was driving on revocation — he now has felony and numerous misdemeanor counts,” said arresting officer Tommy Richbourg. “It wasn’t worth it. Now he’s facing literally years in prison.”

Following a 10- to 15-minute chase, Clovis police arrested John B. Toney, 21, of Clovis, on 12 counts including aggravated eluding of a police officer, concealing identity, escape from custody, and aggravated driving while intoxicated, third offense.

Toney was released Sunday on a $16,100 surety bond, according to Curry County Adult Detention Center officials. He did not immediately return calls requesting comment Tuesday.

The incident began about 10:20 p.m. when Richbourg said he noticed a blue Chevy Lumina westbound on 21st Street approaching Thornton speeding 56 mph in a 35 mph zone.

The officer’s report shows the driver stopped in a parking lot, exited the vehicle, said he had no license with him and gave what officers later determined was a false name.

When Richbourg returned to his police car to process paperwork, the suspect returned to the Chevy Lumina and fled the parking lot at a high rate of speed, the report shows.

Richbourg reported that during the chase the driver nearly hit a person exiting a vehicle. The chase ended on County Road 15 when Toney’s vehicle smashed a utility pole, knocked down wires and rolled over on its top.

The police report shows Toney ran through a field shouting for officers to kill him. Officers caught up with him and tackled him despite resistance. A magistrate judge issued a warrant requiring him to give a blood test at Plains Regional Medical Center.

Richbourg said Saturday was his second high-speed chase since becoming a Clovis police officer four years ago, and he doesn’t know why people run from police.

“I’d just like to reiterate that you’re only making it worse on yourself,” Richbourg said. “The vast majority of time when they do run, we do catch them. The fact that he had only minor injuries after totaling his car, hitting a telephone pole, breaking it in half, and rolling his car is just amazing and it was a surprise to all of us that he’s not dead or severely injured.”