By CLINT FOSTER
While most of Mineral Wells was asleep in their beds during the early morning hours of Sept. 11, Mineral Wells Police Officer Nick Wells had his hands full with a late-night runner and cyclist.
According to a MWPD spokesperson, Wells was patrolling the 2800 block of U.S. Highway 180 East just before 2 a.m. when he saw three people congregated in front of the Mountaineer Lanes Bowling Alley. Officer Wells’ interest was piqued when the group spotted his police car and one man suddenly split off from the other two on his own.
Wells approached the man who immediately identified himself as Leonard Ray Loftis, a 25-year-old white male. Loftis explained that the other two people were his cousin and his girlfriend, whom he was arguing with before he split off. According to MWPD, Wells told Loftis he would run his name through dispatch, if only as a formality, and then he would be free to go. But that’s when it appeared panic perhaps struck young Loftis.
As Wells got on the horn to dispatch, Loftis took off running, later telling Wells he thought he had warrants for his arrest. Wells chased him down and, as it turned out, Loftis had no warrants at all.
Instead, he earned a one-way ticket to Palo Pinto County Jail for evading arrest.
After refuting Loftis’ warrant assumptions the hard way, Wells’ night was long from over.
Around 3:15 a.m., Wednesday, the officer came upon a man riding his bicycle in the 500 block of S.E. 15th Street. Seeing as how 3 o’clock in the morning is an unusual time for a leisurely bike ride and the bike, illegally, had no form of lighting, Wells stopped the night rider.
According to MWPD, William Michael Ruiz talked with Wells with no reported problems. But suddenly, Ruiz dropped a glass pipe and a substance, allegedly methamphetamine, on the dark pavement. The MWPD spokesperson said Ruiz then grabbed the substance and tried to swallow it, but Wells intervened and physically kept the alleged drugs out of Ruiz’s mouth.
Ruiz exchanged his pipe and substance for a pair of handcuffs for possession of a controlled substance under 1 gram.
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