Brainerd woman charged in Friday's high-speed chase
The 65-year-old Brainerd woman — who led half a dozen law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase Friday after fleeing a domestic dispute where she rammed her estranged husband’s car — Monday was charged with the crime in Crow Wing District Court.
Judith Mae Johnson was charged with felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, felony of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and two misdemeanor counts of domestic assault, with one domestic assault for committing the act to cause fear or immediate bodily harm or death on another and the second domestic assault for intentionally inflicting bodily harm on another.
Judge Kristine DeMay set bond at $10,000 with conditions or $50,000 without conditions. Johnson could face up to 10 1/2 years in prison if convicted. Johnson’s next court hearing is scheduled May 9.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Johnson:
• Crow Wing County Sheriff deputies were advised of a driving complaint at 2:27 p.m. Friday of a white Chevrolet like car and a brown car attempting to run each other off the road, traveling westbound on Wise Road. Deputy Brad Thesing located the vehicles on Wise Road and followed them onto Jacksonville Drive. Both vehicles stopped on Golden Pond Drive. Thesing observed the driver of the white car as Johnson. As Johnson was getting out of her vehicle, Thesing instructed her to get back into the vehicle and to place her hands into the air. Johnson got back into the vehicle, but once inside she maneuvered the vehicle around the other vehicle ahead of it and began traveling west on Golden Pond Drive.
• Deputy Eric Stangler subsequently located Johnson’s vehicle at the intersection of Beaver Dam Road and Riverside Drive. Stangler activated his emergency lights in an attempt to stop it. The vehicle continued east on Riverside Drive at one point pulling to the side of the road as if it were going to stop and then accelerating away from the squad car. Stangler then pursued the vehicle for approximately nine miles where it lost control at the intersection of Highway 25 and Thompson Road. During the pursuit, Stangler observed the white vehicle run a number of stop signs and semaphores, reaching speeds of 80-90 mph in Brainerd, in a 30 mph speed zone and reaching speeds between 80-120 mph on Highway 25.
• Thesing spoke with the driver of the brown car who advised him that Johnson was his wife and they’re going through a divorce. He said he drove by Johnson’s house to see if his truck was still there and as he went by, Johnson began chasing him in her vehicle. He said he tried to get away from her and at the intersection of County Road 3 and Wise Road, Johnson pulled her car into oncoming traffic lane and tried to block him from going farther. He said that he went around her vehicle, then headed west on Wise Road, when she pulled her car in front of his slowing down. Johnson’s husband said he had turned onto Jacksonville Drive, at which point she rammed her vehicle into the back of his vehicle.