By Linh Nguyen and Brittany Mason
WOODLAND – A woman was pursued and arrested after an allegedly high-speed chase by a California Highway Patrol officer from Sacramento County into Yolo County.
Lanetta Stuckey’s case was heard in a preliminary hearing, for which she faced seven counts, including theft of a vehicle, unauthorized use of a vehicle, vandalism of a vehicle, obstructing a peace officer, reckless driving, driving without a license and driving with an open bottle of alcohol.
Officer Jeffrey Martin, the CHP officer from Yolo County who arrested the defendant, testified.
On Jan. 31, 2020, Martin received an alert from CHP dispatch regarding a vehicle allegedly traveling over 100 miles per hour westbound on I-80. Martin located the vehicle and noticed it following closely behind a big rig, in what he considered tailgating the larger vehicle.
After finding the clearance to switch lanes, the vehicle allegedly “shot” from the far right lane over to the far left lane without signaling.
Martin said that he was traveling at about 110 miles per hour in his patrol car, yet he was still unable to reach the speeding car, meaning it had to have been traveling faster than 110 miles an hour.
Then, the vehicle once again “shot” from the far left lane to the right lane to merge onto an exit, again without signaling. Martin said he saw the brake lights of the other cars on the highway in the speeding vehicle’s path suddenly light up.
The vehicle then parked in front of a residence once off the exit. The defendant then exited the driver’s side of the car, and Martin commanded her to put her hands on her head. She refused to and he approached her and put handcuffs on her. He did not smell alcohol on her, but he found an open container of liquor. As his patrol car did not have a “cage” between the front and back row of seats, Martin sat her in the passenger seat of his car. He put the seat all the way toward the front and strapped her in with the seat belt.
According to Martin, she then began to become more aggravated. She began to flail back and forth in her seat. Martin was unsure of how she managed to push her seat back, yet, she had and began to kick at the dashboard and windshield. The windshield was damaged with large cracks where the car’s camera was placed on the inside.
Martin also testified that she had hit her head against the computer screen and keyboard inside the car.
Martin had questioned the defendant, asking her questions about the vehicle she had been driving and for her identification card. She said she did not have her I.D. on her. She claimed that the car belonged to a relative of hers.
Martin searched for the car’s information on the CHP information system and discovered the car was registered to a car dealership. The 2012 Nissan Maxima was purchased a week prior to the incident and was taken to a mechanic two days prior to the incident.
As the mechanic was speaking with the car owner, the key was still in the ignition. This when the defendant allegedly got in the car and drove off with it.
When the defense attorney cross-examined Martin, the attorney questioned when the defendant had begun being aggressive—when she requested the car stay on the side of the road so that her relative could pick it up. Martin testified the defendant did get more aggressive when he had told her that the car would be towed.
The court found that there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant to answer on the seven charges. Arraignment is scheduled for March 4 at 10 a.m.
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