NY woman steals, crashes state police vehicle

After leading police on a high speed chase in a stolen car, a Broome County, NY, woman then stole a Pennsylvania State Police vehicle and crashed it.

Judy Benjamin, 21, of Ninevah, NY, faces a slew of charges following the Feb. 21 events. In an affidavit filed in Clifford District Court, Benjamin fled from police in a Dodge Journey stolen in New York, stole a marked state police vehicle, resisted arrest and assaulted multiple PSP members.

According to the affidavit, PSP, Gibson, was advised that the Dickson City Police Dept. was pursuing a stolen car north on I-81. The stolen vehicle was sighted by police in Lenox Twp. and the driver of the vehicle accelerated with police clocking the Dodge Journey at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

Benjamin attempted to exit the highway in Lenox but missed the exit 211 ramp, lost control of the vehicle and struck a guide rail. She jumped out of the car and ran but was taken into custody by police.

She was then handcuffed and placed in the rear passenger seat of the patrol unit and seat belted in while troopers interviewed witnesses. Benjamin slipped the handcuffs and took control of police vehicle, fled the scene.

Two witnesses told police a male passenger fled from the car after the crash. The passenger, identified as Christian Rozelle, 31, Johnson City, NY, was subsequently located and taken into custody after Benjamin stole the police vehicle and fled north on SR 106.

Troopers pursued the stolen police vehicle being driven at a high rate of speed from Lenox to Harford Township, past the Mountain View School District which was undergoing school dismissal with children entering school buses at the time, according to the affidavit.

During the chase, Benjamin hit the brakes that caused the pursuing police cruiser to crash into the stolen one. Benjamin continued to flee police in the stolen vehicle until she crash it on SR 547, Harford Twp.

Benjamin again fled on foot and was, again, taken into custody and transported to the Gibson barracks where Benjamin got out of the rear passenger seat, moved to the driver’s seat, shifted the police vehicle into drive and attempted to accelerate. However, the trooper was able to enter the vehicle in an attempt to extract her. Benjamin then struck the trooper in the face with the handcuff on her wrist, according to the affidavit.

In an interview, Rozelle informed police that he and Benjamin had smoked methamphetamine earlier that day. Benjamin, however, refused to submit to a blood test.

Benjamin has been charged with aggravated assault; escape; criminal attempt – theft by unlawful taking; criminal attempt – escape; flight to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment; fleeing or attempting to elude officer; theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; institutional vandalism; DUI: alcohol/controlled substance; resisting arrest; recklessly endangering another person; evading arrest or detention on foot; and unauthorized use of motor vehicle.

She is being held on $75,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 14 in Clifford District Court. Rozelle is also being held on $75,000 bail, with a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Feb. 28.

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