Suspect in RV chase takes plea, gets 8-year sentence

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A Santa Clarita woman charged with nine felony counts in connection with a police pursuit of her RV last May pleaded guilty Thursday in court, according to representatives with the District Attorney’s Office.

Rainbird, who led police on a televised pursuit while driving an RV with two dogs inside last spring, pleaded guilty to six felony counts as part of a plea deal. She was immediately sentenced to eight years, eight months in state prison with a lifetime ban from driving a vehicle.

Rainbird, aka Julie Ann Fehlman, 54, pleaded guilty to: two counts each of hit-and-run driving resulting in serious injury to another person; animal cruelty; and driving under the influence of a drug causing injury; as well as one count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle causing serious bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury.

The criminal complaint filed against Rainbird also included allegations of causing great bodily injury and a prior conviction for multiple identifying information theft in 2015.

The case began after a May 21, 2019, incident in which Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies attempted to detain Rainbird at her RV near The Old Road and Calgrove Boulevard in Valencia. Rainbird started the vehicle and fled, and while she was being pursued, she rammed into several vehicles, causing injuries to the drivers, prosecutors said.

The pursuit ended with a crash in Tarzana, where one of her dogs also reportedly was injured, prosecutors added.

The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol, Newhall Station.

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