ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A fleeing suspect mistaken for an armed robber blew through stop signs and red lights for about 30 minutes Thursday afternoon narrowly missing a school bus and pedestrians before giving up.
The suspect, who turned out not to be the man who held up a Blake's Lotaburger on Central Avenue SE, was instead found to be driving a stolen SUV, according to Albuquerque Police Department Sgt. Robert Gibbs.
It was the manager of a second Blake's at Lomas Boulevard NE at Pennsylvania Avenue who touched off the chase after being alerted to the earlier robbery. The manager saw a man she thought might be the robber ready to strike a second time and called police.
When officers arrived at about 4 p.m. two people in an SUV--one of them believed to be the possible armed robber--took off at high speed with officers in pursuit.
The officers quickly backed off and let Metro 1, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department helicopter, monitor the SUV from the air while calling out its location, Gibbs said.
At various times the SUV was seen speeding from the area of Carlisle and Indian School NE through a Kmart parking lot and onto I-25, south on Wyoming Boulevard to near Kirtland Air Force Base and then west on Gibson Boulevard in a fast and seemingly aimless cruise through mostly residential neighborhoods, across medians and once in a complete circle in the middle of a street.
Sky News 13 video showed the suspect--later identified as Daniel Archuleta, 31--taking a wide turn and nearly hitting a school bus. At blocked intersections he drove onto medians and sidewalks, apparently without hitting any other vehicles.
Pedestrians also were endangered although none were hit despite a few close calls.
Sky News 13 also showed the driver slowing down once near Central Avenue and Dorado SE to allow the second person in the SUV to get out and take off on foot. That person remains on the loose.
Just before 4:30 p.m. the suspect drove into a front yard in the 400 block of Carlisle Boulevard SE south of Coal Avenue. As numerous police vehicles converged, live aerial video from Sky News 13 showed a man stepping out of the driver's seat with his hands in the air before lying on the ground.
The first officer there approached with his pistol drawn while a second checked the SUV for other suspects but found none.
Back at the Blake's, the suspicious man who prompted the manager's call was still there and had not gotten into the SUV. Police determined he was not involved in the earlier robbery, Gibbs said.
Police said the SUV was reported stolen on Dec. 18.
Archuleta was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center charged with receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle and other alleged crimes.
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