HOWARD CITY, Mich. — Police reports are shedding new light on what was going on inside an RV that led police on a chase through multiple counties in June.
Linda Mankel, 49, was arrested following a pursuit that began after a Michigan State Police trooper saw the RV she was allegedly driving run a red light at M-46 and M-91. The trooper attempted to conduct a traffic stop at that time, but the RV apparently refused to stop.
Another trooper threw out spike strips near M-82 and Amy School. According to a police report, the RV then veered to strike the trooper who deployed the strip. At that point, an official pursuit was initiated by the troopers.
Troopers were able to get the RV to stop with a pit maneuver as the RV was attempting to leave US-131 at Exit 104 in Kent County.
While Mankel was the only one charged in relation to the pursuit, there was another woman named Alexandra Anderson who was also inside the RV. Anderson was arrested on an unrelated parole violation out of Kent County.
Police reports indicate that Anderson initially gave troopers her sister's name, rather than her own.
When troopers spoke with Mankel, she initially denied being in the driver's seat. She allegedly told a trooper, "I don't give a f___, she was driving. She woke me up halfway through this. She ran from you guys before."
Police reports say that Mankel admitted to drinking "a couple of fifths of alcohol" in the period between the night before and that morning. Troopers said in the reports that they witnessed multiple open fifths in the RV when it was searched, along with an open 24oz can of alcohol.
The reports say the chase lasted only about 17 minutes long, spanning 15 miles, with troopers reaching a max speed of 85 mph.
Anderson told troopers that Mankel had picked her up in the RV that morning before they went to a Walmart store in Mount Pleasant, where Mankel stole multiple televisions that she intended to bring to Grand Rapids to sell for heroin money.
Mankel is alleged to have struck and damaged two MSP cruisers during the incident. Police reports estimate the damage to one of the vehicles at $4,328.72 and another at $1,616.55.
Mankel faces 10 counts, 8 of them felonies, related to the pursuit on June 12.
The Montcalm County Prosecutors Office also asked the court to classify Mankel as a habitual offender, which would significantly increase the amount of time she could eventually be sentenced to.
If convicted on all counts as a habitual offender, Mankel could potentially face life in prison.
According to online court records, she has an extensive criminal history that includes her pleading guilty to an OWI charge in 2002 and no contest to a charge of obstructing or assaulting a police officer in 2014.
She faces the following list of charges related to the chase:
1) Failure to obey police officer — Felony
2) Fleeing or Eluding an Officer — Felony
3) Assaulting an Officer — Felony
4) Resisting or Obstructing an Officer — Felony
5) Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm — Felony
6) Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (on an officer) — Felony
7) Malicious Destruction of Property (a police cruiser) — Felony
8) Malicious Destruction of Property (a police cruiser) — Felony
9) Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence — Misdemeanor
10) Driving with a Suspended License — Misdemeanor
Mankel is expected back in court on July 22.