Accused CHP Car Thief Has Drug, DUI History: Estranged Husband

Casaundra Lane, 27, is suspected of stealing a CHP patrol vehicle, prompting a full pursuit Thursday

The woman accused of stealing a California Highway Patrol vehicle and leading officers on a wild chase, ending in a gunbattle, has a criminal history that “just escalated” from partying to drug use and DUI, her estranged husband told NBC 7.

Casaundra Lane, 27, appeared in El Cajon Superior Court Friday, but not for the crimes she is suspected of committing on Thursday. Instead, she was arraigned on shoplifting and failure to appear charges, stemming from an incident in July.

Since March 2008, Lane has had at least six cases filed against her, according to the El Cajon Superior Court clerk’s office.

“I didn’t think it would go this far, but she’s been getting into trouble a lot for a while now. It just escalated,” said Travis Harvey, Lane’s estranged husband.

He met Lane nine years ago at Santana High School, where Harvey says they started going down the wrong path together.

“Started just partying, went a little too heavy,” he said. “Get out of high school, just never stopped, things escalate, drug addiction and what not.”

On March 23, 2008, Lane was charged with of five misdemeanors, including DUI, fighting in public and failure to appear. She agreed to a plea bargain in the case and was sentenced to three years of probation, court documents show.

One week after those charges were brought against her, she was arrested on March 31 in a felony drug case for possession of a controlled substance. That charge was dismissed the next year when she completed a drug diversion program.

But before she entered that program, Lane again was arrested on two drug charges — possession of controlled substance and possession of illegal drug paraphernalia. Both of those charges were dismissed the next day; she was not convicted of those crimes.

Another arrest came on Sept. 8, 2009, and the court says Lane was later charged with DUI.

Multiple offenses, including false impersonation and petty theft, put her in police custody on March 7, 2010. Again, Lane was sentenced to three years of probation after accepting a plea deal.

Her next charge did not come until over two years later, when she was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance. In January 2013, she entered another drug treatment program, but she did not complete it.

She instead pleaded guilty to the felony drug count and was sentenced to 16 months in county jail with credit for 306 days served.

As Lane’s rap sheet continued to grow, Harvey says he urged his ex-wife to clean up her act last year.

“When I made the decision, I told her I’m going to do this with or without you, and I hope you’re with me,” he told NBC 7. “When I found she was up to no good — which I found out because she was arrested again — that’s when I cut the cord, so to speak.”

He admitted his drug use resulted in Lane filing a domestic violence charge against him.

Lane’s other family members started keeping their distance.

Her aunt told NBC 7 after stealing from them, Lane was banned from her father’s home. Her father was too emotional to comment on his daughter’s latest alleged ordeal.

Police say on Thursday, Lane was in the back of a CHP SUV in connection with a hit-and-run investigation when she maneuvered her handcuffs, climbed over the seat and took off in the vehicle.

After shots were fired at her, she led law enforcement on a pursuit that ended in Mission Valley with a gunbattle, but no injuries, according to investigators.

Lane, who is being held on a $505,000 bail, will be back in court Monday for an arraignment on charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, vehicle theft, taking a law enforcement vehicle, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

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