Criminal charges have been filed against two robbery suspects accused of leading police Tuesday on a wild high-speed chase that wound across three freeways and downtown streets until the vehicle they were in slammed into a bus stop.
Christian Manuel Cuevas, 35, of Las Vegas, and Enrique Edward Rugelio, 30, of Highland Park, allegedly took a car battery from an auto repair shop in Highland Park Tuesday without paying and one of them pointed a gun at the proprietor, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The two embarked on the dangerous escape bid after police spotted their vehicle pulling into a gas station, prosecutors said.
It ended when the SUV they occupied hurtled into a bus stop near the intersection of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, with the driver and the passenger fleeing from the vehicle and being arrested soon afterward.
Both men have remained behind bars since their arrests Tuesday afternoon, jail records show.
Cuevas and Rugelio pleaded not guilty Thursday to one felony count each of second-degree robbery, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly and driving against traffic while fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle.
Cuevas — who allegedly has a 2004 conviction for attempted battery in Nevada — also is facing one felony count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and carrying an unregistered loaded handgun, according to the felony complaint.
Rugelio has prior convictions from 2017 for driving or taking a vehicle without consent and 2016 for grand theft of personal property, the complaint alleges.
The two are due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Dec. 12 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, Cuevas could face up to 17 years and four months in state prison.
Rugelio could face a maximum of 11 years and four months behind bars, the District Attorney’s Office said.
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