BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A woman is in custody after she reportedly stole a Birmingham Police Department cruiser and lead authorities on a chase along I-459 Wednesday morning.
According to Sgt. Rod Mauldin, the incident happened around 10 a.m. after an officer observed a car stopped in the road on Jefferson Avenue and Hickory Street in west Birmingham. Authorities tried to intervene in what appeared to be a fight happening in the stopped vehicle. A woman was then detained and put into handcuffs.
The officer on the scene then began interviewing a witness to the incident, and the woman was able to free herself from the back of the patrol car and gain access to the driver’s seat before driving away from the scene. Authorities say that a witness claimed that she manipulated her handcuffs from behind her back to the front and gained control of the vehicle.
The woman gave chase through the city and onto I-459 S. Alabama State Troopers were then able to deploy a spike strip near the Acton Road Exit and the stolen cruiser came to a complete stop near exit 6.
The suspect was later identified as 35-year-old Leah Nicole Letson. She has been charged with first-degree auto theft and first-degree robbery. She is being held at the Jefferson County Jail without bond.
Letson was then taken into custody without further incident. No injuries were reported in the chase.