Albuquerque teen killed in stolen vehicle crash, suspects sought

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Wednesday night, classmates are remembering a beautiful and talented teenage girl. Meanwhile, police are still looking for the two thieves who stole a van and slammed into her family’s car while trying to dodge police.

People who knew the teen say she was a student at Sandia High School.

Witnesses in the area Wednesday morning say the family was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The crash brought them to tears, saying it could have easily been them and their kids.

A video of the scene near Chelwood Park and Copper shows how badly the family’s car was damaged.

It all started when police say they responded to a call of an electrical company’s van being stolen just after 6:30 a.m. The worker had left it warming up at his home not too far from the crash scene.

Police found the van, but didn’t chase the driver because he was driving recklessly and they didn’t want to endanger the public. Moments later, police rolled up on the crash.

“We don’t chase stolen vehicles. I mean we don’t want to endanger the public, we don’t want to induce someone to do something they wouldn’t normally do,” said Officer Fred Duran.

One man tells KRQE News 13 the crash was so loud it woke him up.

“This shouldn’t happen over here. Everybody over here is just trying to live, trying to do their stuff, go to work,” said Joseph Winfield.

Surveillance video from a nearby convenience store shows the van flying down Copper Avenue through a stop sign and into the family’s red car.

“These two individuals that were in this vehicle were determined to get out of the area very quickly,” said Officer Fred Duran. “For them to do what they did here and then run off was just a show of where their mindset was at.”

Police say they had the van on their radar because it had a GPS in it. Additional surveillance video shows police arriving on scene less than 40 seconds after the crash. The thieves had already run off.

Witnesses say a mom and her two kids were in the red car. One of them, a teen, was killed.

People who knew the girl say she went to Sandia High School. KRQE News 13 is not naming her because police haven’t released her name yet. But friends say she was beautiful, smart and talented.

Police say they do have an idea of who the thieves are, they say it was a man and a woman, but have not released their names.

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