A woman who knocked down two sheriff's deputies and smashed a squad car as she fled from a traffic stop was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison.
The sentence prompted one of Kevina Freeman's many supporters to scream an obscenity and rush from the courtroom.
Freeman, 23, pleaded no contest last month to two counts of recklessly endangering safety and eluding an officer-causing damage in the May 15 incident.
In court Friday, she begged for a second chance, citing her three young sons — one with a father who died and two with a father in prison for nearly killing someone.
But Milwaukee County Circuit Juge Dennis Cimpl said Freeman's history, the seriousness of the offense and the particulars of its aftermath required prison time, and he sentenced her to the seven years, followed by five years of supervision. She will also have to pay a yet-to-be-determined restitution for damage to one squad car she rammed in reverse before fleeing.
He said everyone should be thankful that drivers "obeyed the law" and moved left or slowed down when they saw the squad cars on the shoulder of Interstate 43 near Loomis Road that day. "Otherwise, we might have had two dead deputies."
One deputy had to miss 30 days of work because of his injuries, then could only work light duty for another 30 days. The other deputy suffered less serious injuries. Both attended Friday's hearing but neither made a victim impact statement.
Freeman was driving her Honda Civic with her mother as a passenger when she was stopped for speeding. Because she had an outstanding warrant from two prior incidents — retail theft and having a concealed weapon — she gave her cousin's name.
But because the cousin's license was suspended and Freeman's mother didn't have a valid license, deputies said they'd have the car towed. When they let Freeman remove belongings, she slid into the driver's seat and started the car.
As deputies went to the doors, she hit the gas, accelerating quickly in reverse, dragging or knocking over the deputies and her mother. After smashing into a squad car, she sped forward into heavy traffic.
She went directly to her grandmother, who was at a church service, and sought her help in surrendering the next day — but didn't say she had just fled deputies. Meanwhile, her mother lied to deputies at the scene about her daughter's identity.
When Freeman tried to get her boyfriend to tell police she'd been with him all day, he refused. Freeman was finally arrested three days after the incident and has been jailed ever since.
Her attorney, Michael Steinle, said that while she has had criminal contact, she was not criminally oriented and stressed her family's good reputation in the community. Her offenses have been "mostly impulsive acts, is what they are" and out of character.
Cimpl agreed that Freeman's family tried to support her but said substantial prison was necessary to send a message.
"This county has far too many fleeings on a daily basis. This should remind them — if you flee and endanger others, you will go to prison."