She says she “knows now it was stupid,” but somebody was stealing her new car so her instincts took over.
Kimberlea Masser said she was dragged a short distance and suffered minor injuries on Saturday morning while trying to stop the carjacking at a Spanaway gasoline station.
The woman who stole Masser’s car had a 2-year-old child with her and proceeded to lead police on a chase that crossed Joint Base Lewis-McChord. She rammed two Pierce County Sheriff’s vehicles — leaving one deputy with neck and back pain — before she was arrested, authorities confirmed.
Masser, 53, bought the red 2017 Kia Sportage less than a year ago after saving for what she called her “dream car.” She was on her way to work in Kirkland when she stopped for gas at the 7-Eleven on 17410 Pacific Ave. in Spanaway.
Never miss a local story.
When she pulled in, she noticed a woman walking with a young girl. Masser paid for her fuel inside, where the clerk apologized for being slow. It was her first day.
When Masser returned to her car, she noticed the child she saw earlier in the passenger seat and the woman was behind the wheel.
“I said, ‘Wait, that’s my car,’ ” Masser said. “She shook her head like it was her car.”
The thief couldn’t start the SUV because the key fob was hanging from a lanyard around Masser’s neck.
With the door open, Masser confronted the woman at the open driver’s side door. The thief grabbed for the fob. “We had a tug of war,” Masser said. “Then she got it, started the car and locked the doors.”
I said, ‘Wait, that’s my car.’ She shook her head like it was her car.
Kimberlea Masser, Spanaway
When the thief drove away, Masser said she grabbed a side mirror and was dragged a short distance. A witness called 911 and followed the suspect on Spanaway Loop and Perimeter roads and into the Woodbrook area of Lakewood, said Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer. When deputies Emily Holznagel and Ed Roberts caught up with the suspect, she turned around on Perimeter Road. She entered JBLM, not stopping at the gate.
The deputies followed her to a bank parking lot, where she slowed down, but when they couldn’t block her in, she left the lot and accelerated. Deputies lost the woman for about four minutes. Miltary police joined the pursuit, a JBLM spokeswoman said Saturday. Lakewood police also gave chase.
The suspect was soon found in a parking lot with two exits. Roberts blocked an exit, and Holznagel approached to help, but the woman accelerated, ramming the rear quarter panel on the passenger’s side of Roberts car and then Holznagel’s car head-on. Holznagel suffered neck and back pain from the collision.
She fled, exiting the base through the Woodbrook gate before getting on northbound Interstate 5. When she exited, she was caught in heavy traffic on southbound Hosmer Street. Deputies boxed her in, and with assistance from Lakewood police and the State Patrol took the woman into custody.
The child was no longer in the vehicle.
The woman gave conflicting stories about where the child was, and wouldn’t provide information about where and with whom she left her. Deputies contacted the suspect’s husband, who is active duty military, and learned the child was safe and with a friend on base. Roberts visited to confirm that information.
The woman, 26, went to Good Samaritan Hospital with minor injuries and was booked for three counts of first-degree assault, second degree robbery, theft of a motor vehicle, eluding police, driving with a suspended license, third-degree and child endangerment.
Masser said her phone, keys and Nintendo DS were in the car, and she heard from witnesses that the thief was throwing stuff out the window as she drove. Masser attempted to retrieve her car and examine the damage Sunday morning, but the towing company was closed. She said she expects to be “a little teary eyed.”
Masser said the vehicle was insured.