A former Cochise County Superior Court clerk who struck a cyclist and fled the scene, then shortly thereafter was involved in a skirmish with Bisbee Police officers, will serve three years probation for the offenses, a judge ruled earlier this week.
The sentencing of Mayra Munoz, whose probation sentence must be served concurrently, brings closure to a case that involved two police agencies and two separate incidents that occurred within minutes of each other over a year ago.
On Monday, Munoz, of Sierra Vista, pleaded no contest to both offenses — one in Sierra Vista, the other in Bisbee, but both connected, said her attorney Adele Drumlevitch. The charges included attempted leaving the scene of an accident and aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer.
“It was just a very bizarre incident that ended up in two felonies,” Drumlevitch said in court Monday.
Munoz struck a bicyclist the morning of July 9 at Colonia de Salud and State Route 90 and drove away from the scene.
Some minutes later, Munoz ended up being confronted by Bisbee Police because Sierra Vista authorities called ahead to alert them that a car fitting the description of Munoz’s 2016 Chevy had been involved in a hit-and-run crash involving injures and was traveling in their direction.
Munoz was heading east to her workplace at the courthouse when she was pulled over by two Bisbee officers on State Route 80, just west of the entrance to the Mule Pass Tunnel, Munoz said and records show.
The stop did not go smoothly, according to both Munoz and Bisbee Police.
Two officers claimed Munoz kicked them in the stomach. At the time, Munoz said they dragged her out of the car through the open driver’s side window.
Before the scuffle erupted, officers said they asked Munoz to step outside the car and she refused. Munoz said she did that because she was scared and she had no idea why they had stopped her.
Before arriving in Bisbee that morning, Munoz left her house and turned left onto Colonia De Salud. She reached SR 90 and turned right to head east toward Bisbee.
Munoz said she looked in the mirror to see if any cars were behind her and she moved into the next lane. At that moment she was startled when something hit her driver’s side mirror, bending it inward against the car.
That “something” turned out to be Hereford resident Don Dunno on his road bike, Sierra Vista Police later said.
Munoz said she looked in the rearview mirror to see if anything hit her vehicle, but saw nothing. She opened the driver’s side window to straighten her driver’s side mirror and said she saw nothing on the road. She did notice a dent on the rear driver’s side door and called her husband as she continued driving.
At the time, Sierra Vista Police spokesman Corp. Scott Borgstadt said Munoz struck a cyclist at the crosswalk at Avenida de Salud and SR 90. Borgstadt said the cyclist (Dunno) was riding east on 90 and was crossing the crosswalk. When Munoz turned right to head east, she hit him.
“He was in the process of crossing,” Borgstadt said at the time. “She is required by law to stop and make sure she didn’t hit something, especially a person or an animal.”
Borgstadt said Bisbee Police were alerted because the cyclist was injured and the driver of the Chevy Impala had driven off.
When Bisbee Police stopped Munoz on 80, one of the two officers involved in the call walked toward her car with his “duty weapon at his side due to the nature of the call,” a Bisbee Police report shows. The policeman said he ordered the driver to roll down the rear window and when he saw it was a female alone in the car, he put his gun away.
At that point the officer ordered the driver to step out of the Chevy and she refused, the report says. He repeated the order and stated that the woman in the car was “getting frantic.”
Munoz told the Herald/Review and a Bisbee Police supervisor that she wanted to know what she had done wrong before getting out of her vehicle.
That’s when the stop turned physical.
The officer stated in the report that he “attempted to physically remove the female by grabbing her wrists as (another officer) tried to open the driver’s side door to assist.”
Munoz said the officers tried to pull her 4-foot, 11-inch frame from the car through the open driver’s side window.
She said she broke free and fell back on the car seat and was fumbling for her cell phone so she could call her husband.
The Bisbee officers said Munoz grabbed her court identification and yelled that she works for “the (expletive) court.”
They also said that when they opened the driver’s side door, she started kicking them. One of the policemen pulled out his stun gun and pointed it at Munoz, the report shows.
The police supervisor at the scene later told Munoz that one of the officers had a shoe mark imprinted on his shirt in the chest area. Munoz said that’s because they were trying to drag her out of the Chevy by her feet.
Munoz later told the Herald/Review that she had no idea she had hit a bicyclist with her car that morning.
“I would have stopped if I had done that,” said Munoz, a mother of four children. “I had no idea.”
After the incident, Borgstadt said Munoz would be given a citation, but the case would be referred to the Cochise County Attorney’s Office for review and to determine if a felony charge was warranted. Bisbee Police meanwhile, had charged Munoz with assaulting a police officer, a felony.
On July 21, Munoz entered her plea of no contest to both incidents.
In court Monday before Cochise County Superior Court Judge Timothy Dickerson Munoz apologized for her actions.
“I’m sorry for anything that happened,” she said. “I’ll do anything I have to do to make it right.”
Dickerson, who said he would spare Munoz a lecture, said only that he could not understand why Munoz became so upset when she was stopped by Bisbee Police.
He warned if she does not comply with her probation requirements, she could serve 30 days in the Cochise County Jail.