Woman pleads not guilty to stealing CHP cruiser

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A woman who allegedly stole a California Highway Patrol cruiser in the Mission Bay area while handcuffed, setting off a police chase to Mission Valley marked by several collisions, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges including auto theft, theft of an emergency vehicle and hit-and-run.

Casaundra Rose Lane, 27, was ordered held on $250,000 bail.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said a CHP officer arrested Lane near De Anza Cove about 2:30 p.m. in connection with a hit-and-run collision on southbound Interstate 5.

Lane allegedly abandoned a stolen car after the collision and was taken into custody as she emerged from the ocean, the prosecutor said.

The defendant was handcuffed and placed in the back seat of the CHP cruiser, but as the officer talked with a tow truck driver, Lane managed to climb into the front seat and drive off, Runyon said.

Lane drove on the freeway and onto surface streets in Mission Valley, running through stop signs at speeds over 70 mph and crashing into a number of other cars, according to the prosecutor.

When the defendant stopped, police surrounded the CHP cruiser because they didn’t know if Lane would try to use the weapons inside the police vehicle, Runyon said.

Lane faces more than six years in prison if convicted.

She is also charged with felony evading, being a felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of ammunition.

Lane — who has a drug conviction from El Cajon from several years ago — will be back in court Nov. 20 for a readiness conference.

Categories: KUSI