Woman in CHP Patrol Car Heist Changes Plea

Lane faces a stipulated term of four years and eight months in state prison.

A San Diego woman who managed to steal a California Highway Patrol vehicle despite being handcuffed in the backseat pleaded guilty to several charges at a pretrial hearing Tuesday.

Casaundra Lane initially faced seven charges, including auto theft, theft of an emergency vehicle, evading police, being a felon in possession of a firearm and hit and run.

As attorneys for both sides gathered for a preliminary hearing, Lane entered a change of plea and admitted to four of the charges: two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon, stealing and driving a law enforcement vehicle and felony evading with reckless driving, the district attorney's office reported.

The deadly weapons charges are strikes, and all four carry a stipulated term of four years and eight months in state prison, they said.

In November, Lane hit a car on Interstate 5 near the Mission Bay boat launch and ditched the car, running into the bay. An officer chased her into the water, handcuffed her and put her in the back of the patrol cruiser.

While the officer was outside the vehicle, Lane moved from the backseat and reached for a long rifle stored in the patrol SUV, San Diego police said. As she drove toward the officer to run him down, the CHP officer opened fire, fearing for his life, police said.

Lane sped off, driving south on the 5, then onto Interstate 8 and State Route 163. She was apprehended 30 minutes later in Mission Valley after she rolled the cruiser into another vehicle and officers forcibly removed her.

Lane also hit two vehicles driven by innocent drivers as she fled, officials said.

She will be formally sentenced Feb. 24.

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