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Two in custody after chase that locked down UNMH, BCSO says 

Police search for two car theft suspects near University of New Mexico Hospital Wednesday night. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Deputies search for two car theft suspects near University of New Mexico Hospital Wednesday night. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

A car that may have been driven by two suspected car thieves sits where it was abandoned near University of New Mexico Hospital Wednesday night. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

A car that may have been stolen remains where it was abandoned near University of New Mexico Hospital after a pursuit Wednesday night. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A man and a woman were taken custody after allegedly fleeing from deputies in a chase that locked down the University of New Mexico Hospital Wednesday night, according to a spokesman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.

UNMH was locked down for an hour as deputies focused their search in the west parking area after the pair were seen fleeing into the parking structure. University of New Mexico police said both areas were cleared and returned to normal status around 9 p.m.

The pursuit of the suspects started in the South Valley around 6 p.m. when a deputy spotted them driving in a stolen vehicle, said Sgt. Aaron Williamson, a sheriff’s office spokesman.

“The vehicle pulled into the Los Padillas elementary school at which time the subjects that were inside that vehicle got out and got into another vehicle that we believe they stole,” Williamson said. “As deputies pulled into the parking lot of Los Padillas elementary the individuals in that white car tried to ram our deputies, they also tried to strike several other vehicles in that parking lot.”

He said deputies have not yet confirmed that the second car, a white hatchback, was stolen.

The sheriff’s office helicopter took up the pursuit from the sky. Williamson said the car was traveling throughout the city at speeds nearing 100 mph.

When the BCSO helicopter had to refuel deputies lost sight of the car, Williamson said. The KOAT-TV helicopter followed it to UNMH until the pair got out and fled on foot, he said.

The suspects were taken into custody shortly before 9 p.m. Williamson said he didn’t know their names. Deputies believe there may have been another person with them who has not been caught.

Seth Newsome said as he brought his wife to the hospital to give birth to their first child, an official told him she had to walk in from Yale north of Lomas.

“He directed me to a lot where I might get a ticket,” Newsome said. “But my wife is giving birth to our baby girl in a couple hours so I don’t care.”

Williamson said the hospital presented unique challenges in trying to catch the two suspects.

“It’s a large complex,” he said “There are a lot of people coming in and out of here on a daily basis so we were trying to discern who the suspect is and who has legitimate business here at the hospital.”

The suspects will be charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle and other charges, Williamson said.

— This is a developing story. Additional information will be added as it becomes available.

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