Police find body in car after high-speed chase

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State police discovered a body in the trunk of a car Friday after a miles long, high-speed chase that ended in the city of Belen.

Three women, who were in the car, were taken into custody after the chase ended in the middle of the intersection of Main Street and Reinken Avenue.
State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said an officer was patrolling southbound Interstate 25 in Los Lunas just before 3:30 p.m. when he observed a silver vehicle holding up traffic in the left passing lane.
The sergeant said when the officer activated his emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle sped away. At speeds up to 100 mph, the chase continued south on I-25 into Belen, where officers followed the women through several residential neighborhoods, according to witnesses.
The chase ended in a crash at the city’s busiest intersection, where the driver of the silver car was “driving aggressively” and tried to “squeeze between several vehicles,” Gutierrez said.
At that time, two state police officers conducted a felony stop on the silver vehicle, with their weapons drawn. After the women were taken into custody, Gutierrez said the officers conducted a safety sweep of the car.
“It was when they checked the trunk of the car they discovered what appeared to be a deceased individual,” Gutierrez said.
As of early evening on Friday, state police were still at the scene, waiting for a search warrant to enter the car. Gutierrez said he did not have information on who the deceased person was or how they died.
The victims in the three cars hit by the suspects’ vehicle appeared to have minor injures, including an elderly couple in a green-colored Honda Civic, who were transported to an Albuquerque hospital.
Maxine Lopez, who was driving a Nissan Stanza, was hit from behind by the couple, and side-swiped by the suspects’ vehicle. She said she was going to the emergency room, along with her son and grandson, who were also in the car.
“I’m in shock,” Lopez said. “I was so scared. I was crying, but more for my son and grandson, who was freaking out. But they’re OK. We’re just going to go get checked out.”
Lopez said after the crash, she saw the state police officers draw their guns on the women, who she described as being in their 20s. She also saw another officer trying to kick the passenger side window in to get the women out.
“I didn’t see them open the trunk,” Lopez said. “I’m glad I didn’t, or else I think I would be having nightmares tonight.”


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