The woman who Pierce County sheriff’s deputies say injured two law enforcement officers by ramming their vehicle during a chase through Tacoma on Wednesday was charged Thursday with five felonies.
Dana Howell, 28, of Tacoma pleaded not guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to two counts of second-degree assault, hit and run, eluding police and escaping community custody. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set her bail at $500,000.
According to prosecutors:
A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy and a state Department of Corrections officer saw Howell’s SUV parked in the middle of 71st Street in Tacoma just before 2 p.m. Wednesday and decided to follow it as she pulled away.
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The SUV sped off through the residential area, nearly rolling over as it took a corner, so the deputy decided to try and pull it over. Howell sped up even faster, reaching speeds of 50 mph and disregarding stop signs as a construction crew worked nearby.
She eventually pulled into a cul-de-sac, and the deputy tried to hem her in there. Instead, she took a wide turn and sped directly at the deputy’s unmarked SUV, hitting it head-on. She spun her tires and tried to accelerate, eventually working herself free and speeding off again.
The deputy’s bumper was pushed into his front tire, but he chased the woman through the Salishan neighborhood anyway. He tried to spin her out but failed, and she swerved into his SUV again.
She eventually made it to Portland Avenue East, where she tried to get onto northbound Interstate 5, but the deputy was able to spin her out and pin her vehicle against a concrete retaining wall. Deputies swarmed in and arrested the woman.
The deputy and corrections officer suffered “significant neck and back injuries” and were both taken by ambulance to a Tacoma hospital for treatment.
The woman told deputies she panicked when she saw the unmarked vehicle pull up because she knew she had a warrant out for her arrest for failing to report to drug treatment last year, records show.
Howell was sentenced last July to six months in jail after pleading guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to methamphetamine possession while on probation. She was also convicted of first-degree robbery after pleading guilty in Pierce County in 2009.