Crime - Sacto 911

Woman accused of fleeing with deputy ‘hanging on’ to car appears in Sacramento court

A Carmichael woman who allegedly fled the scene of a traffic stop early Saturday as a sheriff’s deputy was leaning into her car window made her first appearance in Sacramento Superior Court on Tuesday.

Brittney Nicholls, 26, faces charges charges of resisting arrest, assault with a deadly weapon and probation violation after the incident near Winding Oak Drive and Long Canyon Drive in Fair Oaks. She is being held in the Sacramento County jail in lieu of $140,000 bail.

Brittney Nichols tells her side of story in jailhouse interview

Nicholls, wearing orange and white jail garb, did not speak during her brief appearance in the jail courtroom before Judge Michael Bowman. She did not enter a plea, and is to return to court Thursday.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Turnbull said Nicholls initially cooperated with a deputy who stopped her car, a Mercedes with paper license plates, as it appeared to be chasing someone who was running down the street at around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. She stepped outside the car, but suddenly jumped back in and accelerated while the deputy was “hanging on,” trying to detain her, Turnbull said.

The deputy fired toward Nicholls as he tried to “disengage from the speeding car,” Turnbull said, but missed her. Nicholls fled, and the deputy was taken to a hospital for treatment. Nicholls, who dropped her identification papers at the scene, was arrested hours later at a home in the 6500 block of Greenback Lane.

Nicholls declined requests this week to be interviewed by The Sacramento Bee in jail.

She told a local television station that she fled because “I didn’t want to go to jail” or lose her car.

Nicholls has a previous criminal record that includes felony drug arrests. In 2012, she pleaded no contest to misdemeanor drug possession and received probation, according to Sacramento Superior Court records. She also pleaded no contest in 2014 to felony drug possession and no contest in 2015 to felony charges related to selling drugs and joyriding.

Turnbull said detectives found drugs in her possession after her arrest Saturday. He did not elaborate.

In her television interview, Nicholls said the deputy from whom she was fleeing fired his weapon three times, just nearly missing her head. Turnbull declined to confirm that information, which he said will be part of “an ongoing investigation” into the incident.

The Sheriff’s Department’s Professional Standards Bureau will review the case and determine whether “the officer’s use of force was within policy,” Turnbull said. He declined to disclose the deputy’s identity, but said he has been with the department for 13 years.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the Inspector General’s Office also will investigate to determine whether the officer was legally justified in shooting at Nicholls.

The various investigations will take several months, Turnbull said.

Cynthia Hubert: 916-321-1082, @Cynthia_Hubert

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