BOULDER CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — A woman, who was reportedly under the influence of drugs, is accused of leading Lake Mead park rangers on a chase in a stolen car after speeding off from a traffic stop, officials wrote in court documents.
Monica Vargas faces federal charges of reckless driving, interfering with agency functions, and having a suspended driver’s license for the incident on June 14, court documents said.
A park ranger with the National Park Service was patrolling in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area when he observed a driver, later identified as Vargas, driving erratically.
The ranger watched as Vargas activated the “right side turn signal and then started to turn left” on Lakeshore Road, documents said. Vargas then stopped the car in the middle of the road, continued driving, swerved, crossed lanes and then stopped.
The ranger ran the car’s license plate, finding it stolen out of Henderson earlier in the evening, documents said.
The ranger pulled Vargas over. She was “yelling incoherently with slurred speech” and then drove off after about a minute, documents said.
A chase then ensued around Trailer Village, documents said. Vargas eventually ran over stop sticks, which caused two tires to deflate. Vargas continued driving for about a half-mile before she stopped, documents said.
“[Vargas] appeared to be trying to exit the vehicle but did not initially remove her seat belt and did not initially put the vehicle in park,” rangers wrote in court documents. “[A ranger] had to instruct the operator to remove her seat belt and put the vehicle in park.”
While being detained, Vargas told rangers she had used methamphetamine earlier in today and “had ‘possibly’ smoked some marijuana,” they wrote in court documents.
Vargas told rangers she did not know the car was stolen and “had borrowed [the car] from a friend,” they wrote in court documents.
While being booked at the Henderson Detention Center, jail officials took a blood sample from Vargas. The results from the test were not provided in court documents.
Vargas pleaded not guilty to the charges against her in court last week. Because she was arrested on federal charges, a booking photo was not immediately available Tuesday.