03/02/2006

Woman steals Calif. sheriff's SUV, is captured

The Associated Press

A woman stole a sheriff's vehicle and led authorities on a pursuit through the Antelope Valley for two hours today, weaving among lanes and running red lights and stop signs before she was captured, authorities said.

Four deputies, some with guns drawn, swarmed the black-and-white vehicle when it finally stopped, hammering on the windows before pulling open the door and dragging the woman to the ground. She was handcuffed and taken away.

No injuries were reported.

A deputy was talking to the 25-year-old woman about a stolen car when she apparently panicked and took the SUV at about 9:20 a.m. in Littlerock, Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Paul Patterson said.

The deputy had left the engine running while he talked to her.

The woman was "unstable," and she wept and screamed into the radio of the sport utility vehicle as she drove, Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Oscar Butao said.

"The vehicle is equipped with weapons but they are secure and locked," Patterson said.

A crisis negotiating team talked to her by the vehicle's radio and that seemed to calm her down, Patterson said.

Butao said the woman told the negotiators she didn't want to go to jail and they told her "that this is not the way to do it."

Her mother and boyfriend both spoke to her as well, Butao said.

Despite promises to stop, she would speed up again, he said.

The SUV wound through Palmdale and Lancaster as authorities followed by helicopter and on the ground but kept their distance.

After about 90 minutes, a rear tire blew after earlier running over a spike strip. The tire fell off but the woman continued driving on the rim.

When the SUV finally stopped, deputies in two cars that had been pacing her ran up and made the arrest.

The Antelope Valley is in the high desert north of Los Angeles.

 

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