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Riverhead car chase suspect pleads guilty to felony charges


A Riverhead woman who stole a pair of cars and led police on a wild chase across Southampton and Riverhead Towns last September pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property and four other charges, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. 

The felony stolen property charges were the top charges in the 28-count indictment handed down by a grand jury against Rasheeda Brown last October.

Suffolk County Criminal Court Judge Fernando Camacho has made a promise to the defendant of between 2 and 4 years imprisonment, according to Suffolk County District Attorney’s office spokesman Robert Clifford. Prosecutors will ask for the maximum 7 to 14 years in prison, Mr. Clifford said.

Ms. Brown’s elaborate series of escapes and high-speed car chases on Sept. 17 were documented at her arraignment in October, when a prosecutor told Judge Camacho that the chase started after Southampton Town police were alerted to a suspicious driver in a 2015 Toyota Highlander. The vehicle, driven by Ms. Brown, fled when police approached and she led officers from Sunrise Highway to Route 111 and finally onto the Long Island Expressway into Riverhead, Assistant District Attorney Maggie Bopp told the judge in October.

Along the way, Ms. Brown drove on the side of the road, blowing out a tire. She continued onto Route 58 while being pursued by police, and was stopped after she smashed into a state trooper’s vehicle.

Ms. Bopp had said the trooper used his vehicle to shield pedestrians in a Route 58 parking lot. Ms. Brown tried to run after the crash, but was arrested and taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center to be treated for reported chest pains.

While in the hospital, Ms. Brown was left in a room with a bathroom that connected to another room, where she was able to slip away despite being handcuffed, prosecutors alleged.

Ms. Brown next stole a second vehicle in the TJ Maxx parking lot, taking it while its owner was standing near the trunk, Ms. Bopp said in October. Ms. Brown fled to her residence on Mill Road, where she received help in getting the handcuffs taken off.

By that time, state police had used a “Find My iPhone” app from the victim at TJ Maxx to track down Ms. Brown’s location, Ms. Bopp said in October. Ms. Brown again took off in the stolen car, leading police on yet another chase until she collided with a Jeep towing a SeaDoo jet-ski, sending it “flying into the air,” the prosecutor said. That’s when she allegedly got out of her car and tried to steal a Jeep with a teenage passenger inside but couldn’t operate the manual transmission.

Rasheeda Brown

Ms. Brown hit speeds topping 120 miles per hour during the police chase, prosecutors said, adding that she provided police with a three-page statement on the incident and blood tests showed signs of fentanyl and cocaine.

In addition to third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, Ms. Brown pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony third-degree grand larceny, felony escaping jail custody  and two counts of misdemeanor driving while ability impaired by alcohol and drugs. The remaining 22 charges are covered in the plea agreement, according to online court records.

Ms. Brown has been in jail since her arrest. Her wife,Tanya Schultheis, was also indicted in the incident on charges of felony forgery, six counts of criminal possession of stolen property and identity theft. Prosecutors said she took purses from a stolen vehicle, which were later identified by the victim.  She is due back in court Friday.

Both women have prior felony convictions, according to prosecutors.

Top Caption: A SeaDoo jet ski that fell off a trailer struck during Ms. Brown’s alleged police pursuit in September. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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