East Hartford, Connecticut – Police have a suspect in custody after a chase ensued when an officer was allegedly struck by the apprehended suspect’s car.
The vehicular pursuit that stretched from East Hartford to Waterbury along Interstate 84 on Friday ended with a swarm of officers converging upon the suspect’s vehicle with weapons drawn.
The commotion all started when an officer from the East Hartford Police Department was looking into a suspicious vehicle that was stopped along St. Regis Street in East Hartford, according to East Hartford Police Lt. Josh Litwin.
Police arrested a woman Friday after she struck an East Hartford police officer with the car she was driving, then led police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 84 that ended in Waterbury, according to police and traffic camera footage. https://t.co/HvGiFkvzGs
— The Journal Inquirer (@JournalInquirer) February 15, 2020
When the officer had exited their cruiser and was on foot, the surveilled car’s driver allegedly struck the officer.
Lt. Litwin stated that the officer struck had only sustained minor injuries from the vehicle. The officer was able to get back into their cruiser while alerting other units as the driver was then fleeing the scene.
Traffic cameras were able to gather some of the chase that gave way. The suspect’s vehicle fled onto Interstate 84 headed westbound, where state troopers joined in on the pursuit of the driver.
After a few minutes of the highspeed pursuit down I-84, one of the front tires from the suspect’s car was destroyed after police deployed two stop sticks.
This allowed cruisers to move quickly and box the vehicle in. Officers then surrounded the vehicle and ordered the driver out of the car and placed her under arrest.
— New York Raw Crowd (@NYRawCrowd) February 15, 2020
According to the Journal Inquirer, the suspect who was arrested for the Friday chase was identified as 33-year-old Catherine Davila, a female resident from Regis Street.
From what the publication stated, the woman was charged with engaging police in a pursuit, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and assault on a police officer.
Davila is apparently being held on a $250,000 bond. If the woman is unable to post the bond before the end of the holiday weekend, she’s expected to appear in front of a judge at the Manchester Superior Court on Tuesday to be arraigned.
Hopefully this court case regarding a high speed chase doesn’t turn out like the one in Mendocino County, California.
In case you missed it…back in December, we brought you a disturbing sentencing out of the state.
Now Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder has made the decision to go against what not only his assistant district attorney’s recommended for sentencing for an individual …. but also the recommendations of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Mendocino County Adult Probation Department.
The judge granted probation to 19-year-old Eural Strickland IV after his second-degree robbery conviction in May.
Strickland was one of three individuals who was arrested in connection with a pharmacy robbery that took place in February in Mendocino County. According to news reports, Strickland, along with Dejoa Larue, 23 and Jakell Watts, 21 was arrested as suspects in a Rite Aid pharmacy robbery.
There was quite a bit of controversy after that sentencing.
It seems the only people that face actual jail-time in California are law-abiding citizens who own weapons and try to buy ammunition now that the state has passed some of the strictest and most illogical gun laws in the nation.
Another defendant, Jakell Malik Watts, age 21, of Sacramento, was convicted by plea in May of robbery in the second degree for his part of staling over $30,000 and leading police on a chase that reached speeds of 120 mph.
After the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department investigated the matter, they recommended that the defendant be sent out for a diagnostic study. In June, the Court ordered the recommended study, said study to be conducted by counselors and psychologists at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
According to the District Attorney’s Facebook page, after the diagnostic study was completed, a report and recommendation was generated and sent to the local court.
CDCR concluded that defendant Watts should receive a sentence to state prison. With that recommendation in hand, the Court then referred the matter back to the Adult Probation Department for an updated local report and new sentencing recommendation.
After reviewing all available information, including the CDCR report, the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department found that defendant Watts was not a fit candidate for probation and also recommended that he be sentenced to state prison.
When that new local report was considered by the Court in January, he referred the matter back to the Probation Department (again) with instructions that the Probation Department — despite its prison recommendation — prepare proposed terms of probation.
Then Assistant District Attorney Dale Trigg argued that Watts — the second of three robbers to be sentenced — had actively participated in a crime of a violent nature. Because of the extreme threat of harm to the local citizenry caused by this robber and his cohorts, defendant Watts had earned his way to state prison, argued ADA Trigg.
ADA Trigg emphasized — as he did in December –that the plan put into action by this defendant and the other two out-of-the-area robbers was to hit a pharmacy in a rural area and take by force the most valuable, highly addictive opiates available in their targeted pharmacy, drugs that then could be sold in the black market on the streets of Sacramento.
At the conclusion of the arguments, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder disagreed with the state prison recommendations of all involved and, instead, announced that he would be charting a different course.
Citing the defendant’s age and “relative” lack of a criminal record, Judge Faulder granted the defendant’s application for probation.
In explaining himself, Judge Faulder said he was basing his decision on a belief that defendant Watts had not yet developed a commitment to a life of crime, but he would likely develop that commitment if sent to state prison.
It was noted that at the time of the Willits robbery, defendant Watts had already been convicted in the Sacramento County Superior Court of battering the mother of his child. The Willits crime occurred less than one year into defendant’s Watts’ three-year grant of supervised probation in Sacramento.
One term of the defendant’s Sacramento probation was that he “obey all laws,” a term that he violated with a violent flourish in Mendocino County.
When asked to comment, DA Eyster emphasized — as he did in December — that Judge Faulder’s decision to grant probation to yet another pharmacy robber — one who targeted victims living far from the hustle and bustle of Sacramento — continues to send a completely wrong message to criminal elements locally and those looking in from other areas.
“Decisions like this send a message that crooks can commit violent crimes in Mendocino County and avoid prison. Law-abiding citizens and local law enforcement agencies can all agree that decisions such as this do nothing to help make Mendocino County a safer place,” lamented Eyster.
As we shared back in December, Willits Police Department released a statement that the three suspects had reportedly jumped the pharmacy counter of the Rite Aide wearing bandanas and demanded pills. Sources indicate that the pills they were looking for were the opioids- oxycodone and morphine.
After taking the pills all three suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.
The vehicle was spotted with the suspects inside fleeing the scene. As reported by the Sacramento Bee a Willits police officer and Mendocino County Sheriff’s (MCSD) deputy gave chase, with the suspect vehicle exceeding 100 mph at times.
The driver ended up crashing the vehicle, which was later to be determined as stolen out of a neighboring town, and all three suspects attempted to run from police. The officers on scene pursued on foot and all three suspects were taken into custody.
The suspects were taken to the Mendocino County Jail where they were booked on the following charges; suspicion of robbery, evading police with reckless driving, resisting arrest, parole violation, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.
It was later determined through the investigation by the MCSD that the group “had stolen several thousand narcotic prescription pills with an estimated street value of approximately $50,000.”
According to the Willits News in May of 2019;
The Mendocino County District Attorney’s (DA) office announced Thursday that the three men who stole pharmaceutical drugs from Willits Rite Aid last February withdrew their not guilty pleas and entered guilty pleas to felonious robbery in the second degree and felony transportation of oxycodone and morphine for purposes of sale, said a press release from the DA’s office.
The admission of guilt came less than a week before a jury trial was set to begin for the three Sacramento men.
In this case, Strickland entered what is known as an “open” guilty plea related to the robbery in the second degree.
As indicated by a press release from the DA’s office:
“An open plea means the judge, after considering the sentencing arguments of the attorneys, will decide all aspects of each co-defendant’s final sentence.
If granted supervised probation, each co-defendant can be ordered to serve up to one year in the county jail. If probation is denied, each of the co-defendants in this case can be legally sentenced to up to 60 months in state prison.”
The case was reviewed by the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department (MCAPD) which after an investigation into the background of the case determined that it should be considered a prison term case, however they did indicate that more information may be needed to make a final recommendation on sentencing.
The case was given to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Strickland underwent a 90-day diagnostic study from the CDCR. Upon his return the study the CDCD concluded that (without factoring in punishment) Strickland should be committed to state prison.
With the new recommendation from CDCR, the Court referred the case back to the MCAPD to give their final sentencing recommendations for Strickland. They again agreed that the case involving Strickland be one that should include a prison term. This information was then given to Assistant District Attorney Dale Trigg.
Assistant DA Tigg went before Judge Faulder and made the argument that explained Strickland poses a significant risk to the community, and that all reports and recommendations indicate that he should serve time in prison.
According to the Mendocino County DA’s office, Assistant DA Trigg emphasized that the plan put in to action by this defendant and the other two out-of-the-area robbers was to hit a pharmacy in a rural area and steal the most valuable, highly addictive opiates that could then be sold on the black market in and around Sacramento for the personal gain of the thieves.
As reported by the DA’s Office after a recess of a single hour, Judge Faulder returned and announced that he would not be following the studies and recommendations, and would not be following the sentencing recommendation of the Assistant DA.
Instead, citing the defendant’s age and “young, not fully developed brain,” Judge Faulder granted the defendant’s application for probation and, again, referred the matter back to the Adult Probation Department for recommendations on terms and conditions of that probation to be received at a future court hearing.
This ruling is a major concern for the District Attorney’s office citing that a matter such as this that can have such strong consequences on the community as a whole should not be taken so lightly.
The District Attorney Eyster was asked for a comment regarding the case and stated that the “sentencing decision sends the completely wrong message to local criminal elements and those looking in from other areas — that wrong message being that crooks can commit violent crimes in Mendocino County and avoid prison if the henchmen chosen to do “the heist” are relatively young of age.”
Eyster went on to state that “…fortunately that message is not one to have previously been communicated around here … until today.”
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