Crime

Woman fleeing Pierce County deputies drove so recklessly she couldn’t light her cigarette, records say

She had getting-away-from-the-cops speed, police said.

Too bad for her the car she was driving didn’t have getting-away-from-the-area gas mileage.

Pierce County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 49-year-old Lakewood woman they say outran them Wednesday during a high-speed chase only for her car to later run out of gas. She admitted fleeing from deputies, adding she was swerving so much she was unable to light the cigarette in her mouth, court records show.

Two deputies checking on a vacant car found the woman walking along a Spanaway road, milk jug full of gasoline in one hand and a cardboard sign asking for gas money in the other, according to the records.

She was arraigned Thursday in Superior Court on charges of eluding police and third-degree driving while suspended. Bail was set at $75,000.

According to charging documents:

A deputy was parked on 102nd Street South near Ainsworth Avenue South just before 10 a.m. when he saw a car run a stop sign without trying to slow down. It was nearly by another vehicle going through the intersection.

The deputy turned on his patrol car’s emergency lights and siren and tried to pull the car over, but it sped away, blowing through a series of stop signs and driving upwards of 70 miles per hour in a residential area.

As the car approached South 84th and Hosmer streets in Tacoma, the driver cut through a nightclub parking lot and the deputy ended the chase.

Another deputy spotted the car and got its license plate number. The driver sped away from a third deputy who wasn’t trying to stop her. The third deputy recognized the woman as someone who’d tried to elude law enforcement last year.

Just after 5 p.m., the third deputy and his partner went to the 20700 block of 19th Avenue East to check on an abandoned car that had the same license plate as the car from the morning chase. Someone had called 911 to report that a woman left the car on the side of the road for several hours with two small dogs inside.

On their way to the car, the deputies saw the woman walking along 208th Street East, carrying a cardboard sign and a milk jug.

They pulled over and arrested the woman.

She said the jug was filled with gas. The sign said she was homeless, out of gas and needed money.

She admitted driving the nearby car and that she had fled from the deputies.She said she knew she was being chased because she saw the lights and heard the sirens.

She added she was driving so recklessly she couldn’t light her cigarette until the chase ended.

She said she didn’t know how fast she was going, but noticed her dogs slammed into the car’s back doors multiple times as she sped through turns.

The deputies asked her why she ran. She told them she was scared because the last time she ran from the police, they caught her and beat her.

She pleaded guilty in February 2017 in Pierce County to trying to elude police and received a 25-day jail sentence. In that incident, she sped away from Washington State Patrol troopers in January after they tried to pull her over for having expired license plate tabs.

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