A 54-year-old woman was sentenced to prison after admitting to drugged driving and other charges in a wild chase through the San Fernando Valley with two dogs in her recreational vehicle last year, prosecutors said Friday.
Santa Clarita resident Julie Ann Rainbird, aka Julie Ann Fehlman, pleaded guilty Thursday to six felony counts in the pursuit that involved multiple crashes, including one that left a bystander with major injuries, and sent one of the dogs to the hospital after it leapt from the moving vehicle, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Rainbird was immediately sentenced to eight years and eight months in state prison, and she was banned from driving a vehicle for life, the DA’s office said.
The May 21 pursuit began when Rainbard fled as deputies tried to detain her at her RV in the area of The Old Road and Calgrove Boulevard in Valencia.
Sky5 video showed the RV speeding across freeways and surface streets, sustaining heavy damage as it collided with multiple vehicles.
One of the dogs leaped out of the RV in Winnetka, while the second was seen sitting in the front seat until Rainbird lost control and hit a car pulling into a home’s driveway in Tarzana, sending its driver to the hospital with serious injuries.
The RV then slammed into a tree, and Rainbird was seen emerging with the dog limping behind her.
Both dogs had been expected to fully recover, although one was taken for emergency treatment. The other was handed over to L.A. Animal Services.
Microchips confirmed Rainbird was not the registered owner of either dog, the animal agency said.
Investigators had learned about the RV after an L.A. woman reported her identity stolen, according to Simi Valley police. A motorcycle was also purchased with that victim’s identity, the Police Department said.
Rainbird admitted to two counts each of hit-and-run driving resulting in serious injury, animal cruelty and driving under the influence of a drug causing injury; and one count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s vehicle causing serious injury and assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury.
The case also included allegations that Rainbird had a prior conviction for multiple identifying information theft in 2015.