Los Angeles

Three Hospitalized After Motorhome Driver Crashes Into Cars, Tree in Chaotic Pursuit

One side of the large motorhome was torn off during the pursuit on streets in Southern California's San Fernando Valley

A heart-pumping pursuit Tuesday left at least three people hospitalized after a driver in a large motorhome with two dogs inside stormed through San Fernando Valley neighborhoods, crashing into cars and tearing off a side of the stolen vehicle when she hit a tree. 

At least six other vehicles were damaged by the behemoth motorhome, which was purchased using a stolen driver's license. The woman behind the wheel was identified by the California Highway Patrol as Julie Ann Rainbird, 53, from Winnetka.

The pursuit started north of Los Angeles in Santa Clarita, the CHP said. The motor home was stolen, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Santa Clarita Valley station.

Newschopper4 Alpha and Eliana Moreno were over the chase at approximately 7:20 p.m.

The driver was traveling at high speeds, ignoring traffic lights and other rules of the road. The passenger side of the RV was ripped off after the driver crashed into a palm tree during a U-turn.

"I can't imagine what would possess someone to just do something like that," said Bob Wolf, a man who works near where the pursuit happened.

In all, the CHP said that six vehicles were damaged during the pursuit, with at least three people going to the hospital with injuries, including the driver. Even after crashing into the palm tree, the motor home continued barreling down the street.

At one point, a dog fell out of the motor home, but appeared to walk to the side of the street without serious injuries. The dog, wearing casts around a front and hind leg, was released Wednesday from VCA McClave Animal Hospital. 

As the pursuit progressed, at approximately 7:35 p.m., the driver crashed into a white vehicle. At least one person was in the white car and appeared to be injured in the collision.

"The sound was so loud it jotled me out of my desk chair," Wold said.

Rainbird and a second dog took off running after the final crash at a Tarzana home, but police quickly caught up to the woman and the dog. The woman was taken into custody in the 5100 block of Tampa Avenue in the city of Tarzana.

Court records show Rainbird was previously convicted in Los Angeles County of identity theft in January 2015. She also has convictions for trespassing and possession of methamphetamine.

"That's a one-woman crime wave," said Tarzana resident Don Galishoff. "Really. I mean unbelievable. It never ceases to amaze me what people can do and get away with."

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