A Chicago woman is facing 11 counts of misdemeanors and felonies after she crashed a stolen Jeep during a police chase that crossed state lines. She was initially noticed when her Jeep was spotted doing 83 in a 70mph zone. Police pulled the vehicle over, initially without incident, but the arresting officer recognized that the vehicle was never placed in park and that the driver had her foot on the brakes. The trooper smartly did not approach the vehicle and instead issued verbal commands to place the vehicle into park and lower her window. Instead of doing that, the woman took off in her stolen Jeep.
Another trooper down the road was alerted to the woman approaching in the Jeep. The trooper was retrieving stop sticks from the road when the Jeep approached. The woman swerved to avoid the parked police cruiser but ended up crashing into a Kia Optima anyway. The driver continued after the crash, but the Jeep was damaged. Eventually, the woman was forced to stop the Jeep. That is when she was arrested.
Tallying Up the Charges
The woman faces several misdemeanor counts related to her driving of the vehicle and several felony counts related to the theft of the vehicle. While the woman is from the Chicago area, she will be charged in Indiana which has its own state laws and terminology when it comes to certain types of crimes.
The speeding infraction is the reason why she was pulled over in the first place. She will be charged not only with speeding but with reckless driving during the police chase. Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor whereas traffic infractions are lower than crimes. They are just infractions. She will also be charged for leaving the scene of an accident and recklessly operating a vehicle in a manner that caused injury (two counts). Indiana also has separate rules for aggressive driving and criminal recklessness.
The charges related to theft, however, are less cut and dried. It is probable that the woman knew that the vehicle was stolen, which is why she fled police. She could have said that someone else had loaned her the vehicle, and she did not know it was stolen, but often arguments like those are difficult for juries to believe, especially when the defendant engages police in a high-speed chase across state lines.
The driver has yet to be formally charged, so we do not know what the extent of the charges will end up looking like. Many of the charges against her could be dropped while others may be added. Police will need to determine who the Jeep initially belonged to before we can know whether the woman will face auto theft charges.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges related to auto theft or any other crime in Chicago, call experienced criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and discuss your options.