Female RV Thief Leads Police on Wild Chase
A young Albuquerque, N. M., woman led police in southeastern New Mexico on a dangerous high-speed chase involving a stolen RV, a hitchhiker and his dog.
Investigators said it was lucky no one got hurt, KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, reported.
Dash-camera video shows New Mexico State Police and Chaves County sheriff's deputies catching up with a stolen motorhome leaving Roswell Monday morning (July 2).
The RV was taken from an unidentified trailer park in north Roswell. Police said the driver, Christina Vandergriff, 22, didn't bother to detach the sewer line or awning before taking off.
Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon said Vandergriff was driving "75-80 miles an hour with the awning of the motorhome still on the vehicle, swerving, not doing a very good job of driving."
Thankfully, Coon said, northbound and southbound traffic on U. S. Highway 285 was sparse at that time. At one point the awning flew off.
"We were pursuing her at a safe enough distance, we could have got around it," Coon explained. "But if it would have landed on the highway and another vehicle hit it or tried to avoid it, we would have had a potential of another motor vehicle accident."
Officers didn't know it then, but Vandergriff had picked up a hitchhiker and his dog. Coon said the hitchhiker begged her to stop and let him out, but she refused.
At one point a deputy deployed road spikes, but Vandergriff swerved to avoid them.
"A 22-year-old female, barefooted, probably had never driven anything that size, we're real lucky she didn't roll it and hurt her and the passenger, and the dog that the passenger had, or hit somebody head-on," Coon said.
The RV's owner warned police of two guns he had in the vehicle.
When Vandergriff finally crashed, the RV's windshield blew out. She and the hitchhiker crawled out, but she took off running.
"Guns drawn, we didn't know whether she knew the guns were there or not, whether she was capable of using them, so yeah, we approached her very carefully," explained Coon.
A state police officer chased Vandergriff through a field where she eventually gave up.
Coon said the hitchhiker and his dog were shaken up, but they were both OK.
Vandergriff is facing a slew of charges which include stealing a vehicle, reckless driving, aggravated fleeing and kidnapping. When it was all over, she told police she was on her way to Albuquerque to pick up drugs.