On Oct. 26, 2014, Rio Rancho police officer Anthony Haase passed away in a single-vehicle crash while responding to a domestic violence call.
When I heard the news that morning, my friends and I were in complete shock because the night before Haase pulled us over, and it was one of the most unforgettable events in my life.
Back in 2014, I was a high school senior at V. Sue Cleveland High School. Like any Rio Rancho teenager, my friends and I were trying to find something to do on a Saturday night.
Our wild night began at McDonalds, getting food off the dollar menu. Then we drove to the Albuquerque Downtown area on Central, and we walked around for a bit.
As the night went on, the topic of conversation was helping our buddy plan a fun date for his girlfriend (I believe it was their two-year anniversary).
At one point, we suggested that he take her to the cool overlook at the Cleveland High School stadium. So, we drove to Cleveland, and we were about to park when we noticed a car creeping out of the dark.
Being teeangers who watched too much “Breaking Bad,” we thought we saw something we weren’t supposed to and drove out of there as fast as we could.
However, the car was still following us. Being in a 4×4 vehicle, we decided to shake the car on the dirt roads across from what are now the Cleveland Heights.
We thought we lost him, and we followed the dirt roads, which eventually led us to the pavement near the intersection of Paseo Del Volcan and Broadmoor.
We thought we were in the clear. We were ready to call it a night, but then we saw the same car appear out of the shadows. My friend said “Wait, I think that’s a…” and before he could finish his sentence, we saw the colors of police sirens. We were trying to outrun a police officer.
Obviously, we stopped, and a police officer began walking toward the driver’s window. He asked what we were doing at Cleveland so late at night. My friend froze; everyone did.
After a solid amount of silence, I started talking. First, I apologized. Then, I said that our buddy was having a hard time planning a fun date for his girlfriend. I explained that we suggested the cool overlook at Cleveland High School stadium, and I admitted that we were going to sneak onto the field so that we could show him the spot.
As I was telling him all of this, I could see that he was slowly starting to smile. The police officer asked if we had any intentions to vandalize the school, and we told him that we didn’t. Then, he started cracking jokes, so we started cracking jokes as well.
He took our IDs and ran them to ensure there weren’t any warrants. Then we all just talked for a bit.
He told us that he used to play baseball, and even suggested better date spots that would not get us in trouble. After all of that, he wished us a good night and we all left.
The next morning, I saw his face on the local news and was shocked to hear that RRPD officer Anthony Haase had passed away the same night that we had our encounter.
Haase is a hero, and will always be a hero to me.
Thank you for being so kind and cool to some idiot high schoolers.