A 23-year-old Van Nuys woman with a criminal record has been charged with fleeing police during a pursuit and other counts after a chase in which she allegedly reversed into a patrol car, leaving an officer injured.
Christina Ohanian faces multiple counts in connection with the early morning chase, which ended with her standing up through her sun roof, smoking a cigarette, and then being pulled to the ground by officers.
The chase began about 2:15 a.m. June 22, when Los Angeles Police Department officers spotted a stolen vehicle and began pursuing it. At one point, the car stopped and reversed into a following patrol vehicle, leaving the officer in the passenger seat injured.
The car, a white Honda sedan, again fled at high speed but eventually crashed into a curb at Haskell Avenue and Vanowen Street in Van Nuys. There, the driver could be seen smoking a cigarette and using her cellphone while police gathered across the street and a helicopter circled overhead, video from the scene showed.
The driver popped out of the sunroof, smoking and talking to the more than 10 officers who were amassed across the street. The officers eventually approached, pulling her out of the driver’s side door and onto the pavement, where one officer knocked the cigarette out of her mouth.
Ohanian was charged with one felony count each of assault upon a peace officer, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly, and driving or taking a vehicle without consent with a prior, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday. She was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage.
She entered a not guilty plea Monday and is due back in court in Van Nuys on July 12.
Ohanian was convicted in 2015 of grand theft of an automobile and possession for sale of cocaine, the DA’s office said.
If convicted as charged, she could face more than nine years in state prison. Her bail was set at $145,000.
The status of the injured officer was not clear.