Ferndale, MI – A homeless woman stole a Ferndale Police Department patrol vehicle and went on a high-speed joyride before she crashed into stopped traffic at more than 80 mph (video below).
The incident occurred at about 11 a.m. on July 5 when a Ferndale police officer stopped on the side Woodward at 9 Mile to help a stranded pedestrian, the Detroit Free Press reported.
While the officer was helping the person figure out which cab company had taken his luggage, he walked back and forth to his police car several times.
But what the officer didn’t notice – and what his bodycam captured – was 23-year-old Destiny Hawkins "making a beeline to his car," Ferndale Police Sergeant Baron Brown told the Detroit Free Press.
Police said Hawkins walked across four lanes of traffic, and when the officer turned his back to the brand-new police-equipped Chevrolet Tahoe filled with police weapons and electronics, she jumped into the driver’s seat, and took off.
Video showed she changed the radio station and turned up the music in the car before she hit the gas.
Sgt. Brown said that an alert citizen witnessed the incident and followed Hawkins in the stolen police SUV until officers could catch up and take over the chase, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“That’s when she really kicked it up” to an estimated 100 mph with officers following in hot pursuit.
The dashcam video from the stolen police SUV showed Hawkins drove the wrong way down a divided highway, directly into oncoming traffic.
She whipped in between slower cars and continued to gain speed until she encountered stopped traffic approaching an intersection on 7 Mile.
Hawkins struck an older Chevy Tahoe at 83 mph, according to the squad car’s on board electronics, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Sgt. Brown said the fact that no one was seriously injured was likely due to the fact that the police SUV hit a truck the same size that was travelling in the same direction.
The brand new police vehicle was totaled, the Detroit Free Press reported.
"When she was arrested and they asked her why she did this, her answer was something like she just wanted to have some fun," Sgt. Brown said.
He said they have not yet determined another motive for the woman’s joyride.
"She presented some indications of mental illness,” Sgt. Brown told the Detroit Free Press.” All through the booking process, she gave peculiar answers, and some peculiar non-answers, you might say. We have no indication at all that she was high on anything."
Hawkins, who is believe to be homeless, was arrested and charged with car theft and fleeing and eluding police.
Sgt. Brown said she had been remanded into custody with her bond set at $250,000, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The officer from whom the brand new police cruiser was stolen will not be disciplined, Sgt. Brown said.
He said the department had "found no violation of any departmental procedures by the officer involved — he was never more than a few feet from his vehicle,", the Detroit Free Press reported.
But still, the Ferndale police are taking serious steps "to make sure nothing like this ever happens again," the sergeant said.
Sgt. Brown said that the department was looking into having modifications made to its police vehicles that would prevent them from being driven by any unauthorized person.
Watch the pursuit from the driver’s seat of the stolen police SUV in the video below: