A 33-year-old Oak Harbor woman who fled from police in her car on three different occasions, striking an officer and a patrol vehicle in one incident, was recently sent to prison.
Monica Wittus pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court earlier this month to two counts of assault in the second degree, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, malicious mischief, criminal impersonation in the first degree and bail jumping.
The plea resolved four different criminal cases against Wittus in Island and Skagit counties.
In court, Judge Alan Hancock agreed with the joint sentence recommendation from the prosecution and defense and sentenced her to 50 months in prison. She was also ordered to pay $1,000 for damaging an Oak Harbor police car.
Chief Criminal Prosecutor Eric Ohme said the Oct. 9, 2018 incident in Oak Harbor could have ended much differently, explaining that the police showed commendable restraint after nearly being run over by Wittus.
In that case, two officers were checking on Wittus, who had been sitting inside a car parked at McDonald’s for an hour. While speaking with her, the officers discovered that she was wanted on a warrant out of Skagit County.
One of the officers asked Wittus to shut off her car. Instead, she put her car in reverse and accelerated backwards, striking the officer’s patrol car and causing substantial damage, according to the police report.
Wittus then pulled forward at a high rate of speed and turned towards the two officer, striking one of the officers and causing him to fall to the ground. She drove off on the highway.
The injured officer was transported to the hospital in an ambulance. The other officer suffered a bruised hand.
In May 2018, a police officer in Mount Vernon noticed a idling car and spoke to the driver, later identified as Wittus. She, however, gave the officer a false name and drove off at a high rate of speed while the officer was in his car to confirm her identity. The officer pursued the speeding vehicle, but cut off the pursuit in the interest of public safety after she nearly struck several other cars.
Then in March 2019, an officer in Mount Vernon checked on a report of a suspicious car and found Wittus sleeping in the back of the vehicle. The officer banged on the car window until she finally awoke.
The officer told her to unlock the door. Instead, she climbed into the driver’s seat and peeled out, driving over the curb the officer was standing on and forcing him to quickly move out of the way. The car jumped the curb, traveled down in a retention pond. She smashed the car into both sides of the embankment and nearly struck another officer.
Officers pursued her onto Interstate 5, but the chase was called off after speeds neared 100 mph.
In addition, Wittus had been charged with possessing methamphetamine in a 2018 Island County case.
In court, Hancock said he hoped Wittus would get the help she needs in prison with substance abuse problems and that she dissociates with bad influences after she’s released.