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Woman allegedly sics her ‘large pit-bull dog’ on police following late-night chase – dog still missing

Mary Clifton appears against an image of the area where police say her pickup was idling

Mary Clifton appears against an image of the area where police say her pickup was idling before an attempted traffic stop turned into a chase and more in Phoenix, Ariz. (Google Maps; Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

An Arizona woman put her dog between herself and law enforcement over the weekend with predictably disastrous results, police say.

Mary Clifton, 39, stands accused of myriad crimes, according to Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office records, including one transportation violation and two counts of failure to appear. Two other counts against her are referenced in jail records, however, they are not spelled out.

She also faces charges of aggravated assault against a police officer and resisting arrest, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

The underlying incident occurred late Saturday night at the corner of 107th Avenue and Colter Street – right near the Camelback Ranch. There, patrol officers driving by saw a pickup truck in the middle of the road, not moving, and blocking traffic, the PPD said in a statement provided to Law&Crime by Public Affairs Bureau Sergeant Phil Krynsky.

Police then moved in but the defendant allegedly fled, leading to a vehicle pursuit.

“The officers used their lights and sirens to alert the driver and make a traffic stop,” the PPD said. “The pickup then drove off and eventually onto a residential property and crashed into a fence.”

Law enforcement did not say how long the pursuit lasted or mention the rate of speed reached by the allegedly wayward pickup truck.

Following the crash, officers moved in, where they mistakenly thought Clifton, the driver, was “the sole occupant of the pickup,” and sought to detain her, police said in their statement.

“The woman then pulled out a large pit-bull dog which attacked officers,” the PPD statement reads – purporting to identify the breed. “Officers were bit by the dog as they took the woman into custody.”

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Police said they used a “less than lethal tool” on the dog “who later ran away.”

The investigation is said to be still active.

Law&Crime reached out to the PPD for additional details regarding the location of the dog and the state of the officers who were injured but no response was immediately forthcoming at the time of publication.

Law&Crime has also requested body-worn camera footage from the incident.

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Clifton was arrested Sunday night and booked into the Maricopa County Jail.

The defendant’s case is not currently docketed in the county court system.

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