A suspect who led St. Paul police on a car chase was shot three times but will survive, police said Friday evening.

Police had tried to stop the car near Marion Street and Front Avenue for an alleged traffic violation shortly after 5 p.m. But the driver sped away in a circuitous route through the North End, slowing at one point while a passenger bailed out and ran.

After a chase reached up to 80 miles per hour, the driver fled the car in the area of N. Woodbridge Street and Front, and officers shot him. He was taken to Regions Hospital.

Details of what led officers to open fire weren’t available Friday night, but Sgt. Paul ­Paulos said they believed that the man was armed. He would not say whether police recovered a gun, or what led officers to suspect that the man was armed.

The 24-year-old passenger also was caught and was being questioned about why he fled from the car, police said.

The driver is expected to be charged with fleeing police, Paulos said.

Friday night, the passenger’s distraught mother arrived at the police station, where a commander assured her that her son, Keyonte McDowell, wasn’t dead or hurt. That rumor had spread on Facebook, even reaching his ­relatives in Illinois.

“People were saying that they saw him on the ground dead,” said his mother, Sabrina Fair of St. Paul, who asked that his name be published so that friends and relatives would know the rumors weren’t true. “All they were saying was that police shot him dead. He wasn’t even hurt.”

She said her son has three children. Because she hadn’t been allowed to speak with her son, she said, she didn’t know the identity of the driver or why McDowell was in the vehicle.

Joy Powell