Tuesday, November 28, 2023


RV crime video: A look back at the great L.A. motorhome chase

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Stuck in the house? Getting a little bored? How many hands of solitaire can you play? If you need a few minutes of rollicking drama involving an RV, here’s your chance. May marks the one-year anniversary of a police chase across the freeways and surface streets of Los Angeles that saw a reportedly stolen Class A motorhome in a demolition derby-like chase scene.


Julie Ann Rainbird, 52 at the time, was questioned by police about a big motorhome she had. Apparently tired of questions, Rainbird tripped the key and stepped on the gas – in a big way. A plethora of police cars chased after Rainbird while she tried to unsuccessfully elude them at speeds far above safe. In the process, which started in Santa Clarita and ended up in L.A.’s Tarzana neighborhood, the RV clobbered at least six cars, two of them occupied, and took the short end of a contest with a palm tree that sheared off much of the rig’s passenger side.

Rainbird wasn’t alone in the runaway RV – two large dogs, Mastiffs, were along for the ride. The big canines took turns sitting on Rainbird’s lap – this after the windshield of the rig had popped out after the tree collision early-on in the event. One of the dogs apparently had enough of the danger and bailed out on a busy street. The other stuck with his mistress to the bitter end – watching as police buckled handcuffs on the woman. The dog, eventually rejoined with its other companion, was hauled off to a vet for treatment of minor injuries. Much of the fiasco was recorded by news helicopters.

One such video we provide below. While the entire clip is nearly an hour long, the majority of the action, from chase to final crashing end, takes about 15 minutes. The balance of the film shows aftermath images. For Rainbird, the aftermath included charges of causing serious bodily injury, hit-and-run driving resulting in serious injury, animal cruelty, and three counts each of assault with a deadly weapon – the motorhome – and hit-and-run resulting in injury to another person.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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TexasScout (@guest_233722)
6 months ago

You would need an MRAP to pit that thing.

PennyPA (@guest_100236)
3 years ago

Sure! You want to make bets that she’ll be driving again 2 days after she gets out “on good behavior”, lol.

Kendra Roberts (@guest_95636)
3 years ago

Julie Ann Fehlman, 52, used an assumed name of Julie Ann Rainbird to escape the police and her past charges. Fortunately, that didn’t work. Lately criminals have been trying to pass themselves off as indigenous Americans obviously to no amount of success thinking it would be easier for them to disappear from authorities but American authorities are at least as diligent at cracking criminals as any US citizens and trying to hide in America has never been an option. It’s sad what happened to the otherwise very attractive RV. What a horrible disaster it met!!

Dennis (@guest_75100)
3 years ago

After some research the RV was a 1993 Southwind. Guessing it is a P30 chassis based on the rear wheel covers.

Ray Z (@guest_74808)
3 years ago

So it’s been a year now – does anyone know what happened to the motor home driver?

SpringerPop (@guest_75140)
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Z

She’s likely still in jail awaiting trial. The wheels of justice turn slowly in Los Angeles County, and her bail was set at $100,000 after nine felony charges were brought by the D.A. Hopefully, she doesn’t make bail, as she seems to be a habitual ne’r-do-well.

The dogs were adopted to an Oregon family. She had stolen them, too, and their registered microchip owners had changed phones and left no further info. They were vetted and kept for thirty days to be reclaimed, then a rescue organization got them and adopted them both to an Oregon family who had been following their progress.

The RV had been reported stolen by a major RV dealer after finding out that the ID and credit card used for the down payment was all stolen as well.

I don’t know how many times I have almost been similarly struck at that freeway off-ramp, as through traffic somehow misses the existence of a red light there. Of course, this gal wasn’t stopping for a red light anyway.

John (@guest_75175)
3 years ago
Reply to  SpringerPop

Los Angeles California; I bet she’s out on “this really isn’t a bad crime”.

Leslie Berg (@guest_99165)
3 years ago
Reply to  SpringerPop

So glad pups got a good home. What a sweet dog to stay calmly with law enforcement and dog napper while she is being arrested.

Diane Mc (@guest_100188)
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Z

The paragraph with the link said she got 9 years and banned from driving for life.

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