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.