State News

Hope Mills woman escapes arrest in Georgia, steals patrol car

Posted December 22, 2009 8:44 a.m. EST
Updated December 22, 2009 10:41 a.m. EST

— Georgia authorities say a North Carolina woman wriggled out of her handcuffs and led police on a four-mile car chase after fleeing arrest in one of their patrol cars.

Multiple media outlets reported Ronda Renee Matthews of Hope Mills, N.C., surrendered to deputies after crashing and damaging the patrol car. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says the 37-year-old woman was being arrested on a robbery charge when she broke out of her handcuffs, climbed into the front seat of the patrol car and drove away.

Officials have charged Matthews with armed robbery, stealing a motor vehicle, fleeing arrest and reckless driving, among other things. It was not clear if she had an attorney.

Matthews has a criminal record in North Carolina that dates to 1989, including several drug and traffic offenses, according to state Department of Correction records.