Police say a man stole a state-owned vehicle from the New Mexico State Fair grounds Monday morning and then ran a stop sign in a nearby neighborhood, crashing into a Jeep and critically injuring the other driver and a 10-year-old girl.
The two were taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, said Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman.
He said the driver of the stolen car — 37-year-old John Eugene Bearden Jr. — fled the scene and was found hiding in a shed less than a quarter of a mile away.
Bearden was taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He was screened for intoxication and a warrant has been approved to draw and test his blood, Gallegos said.
He said Bearden will be charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash involving serious physical injury, and great bodily harm by vehicle.
Gallegos said around 7:45 a.m. officers were called to the area near San Pedro and Bell SE for a crash. When they arrived they determined that the stolen vehicle, a maroon Chevrolet SUV, had been speeding eastbound on Bell approaching San Pedro.
“The driver of the stolen vehicle ran a stop sign and t-boned a gray Jeep SUV in the intersection,” Gallegos said. “The collision came to a rest in the front yard of 600 San Pedro SE.”
He said the occupants of the jeep — a 43-year-old male driver and the girl — were taken to the hospital.
“After the collision, the driver of the stolen Chevy SUV exited and fled on foot,” Gallegos said. “Another call came in from a resident advising a male subject was hiding in a shed in their backyard.”
New Mexico State Police officers and an APD officer took Bearden into custody near the 500 block of Dakota SE.
A spokeswoman for EXPO New Mexico confirmed the state-owned vehicle had been stolen from the events center but referred all other questions to police.