Deputies had to use pepper balls, a bean-bag gun and a service dog Wednesday to arrest a woman suspected of making death threats before leading authorities on a 30-minute chase over East County freeways and surface streets.

The pursuit began just after 10 a.m., when a deputy arrived in the 8900 block of Leigh Avenue in Spring Valley to investigate a report of a person loitering suspiciously inside a yellow sport utility vehicle in the neighborhood, sheriff's Lt. Mike Munsey said.

As the patrol cruiser approached, the woman, whom deputies later identified as Sharon Phipps drove off, then refused to yield when the deputy tried to pull her over, Munsey said.

Due to the speeding suspect's erratic driving, pursuing sheriff's personnel soon backed off and began tailing her from a distance so she might slow down, Munsey said. A short time later, the woman turned into a parking lot outside a Home Depot store on Broadway in Lemon Grove and stopped, and deputies pulled in behind her vehicle.

The suspect refused to get out of the SUV, then took off again, steering directly toward a deputy while maneuvering to get out of the lot, Munsey said. The patrolman was able to jump out of the way in time to avoid getting hit.

The pursuit continued through various neighborhoods and along stretches of state Routes 54 and 125, northbound Interstate 805 and Imperial Avenue.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., the Phipps pulled to a stop at a cul-de-sac on Rebecca Way in Lemon Grove, near Mount Miguel High School. There, she continued refusing to follow orders to surrender until deputies used the non-lethal compliance equipment and turned the police dog loose on her, Munsey said.

"They were telling the lady to get out of the car. She waited for two or three minutes and didn't listen...that's why they shot the window," said witness Leo Mendoza.

At that point, the sheriff's personnel were able to take the suspect into custody. She was transported to an emergency room for an evaluation of dog bites and other apparently minor injuries.

Phipps will be booked into county jail on various charges, including evading police and assault on a peace officer, according to authorities.

Following the pursuit, sheriff's officials got word that the suspect was believed to have threatened to kill people at a La Mesa business earlier in the morning.

At times during the chase, the fleeing woman was using her cell phone to talk to California Highway Patrol personnel, according to Munsey. It was unclear what she was saying during the conversations, he said.

Phipps works as an independent hairdresser in La Mesa. Co-workers, upon hearing of Phipps arrest said she's had recent mental problems.

"All of a sudden she started saying just weird things," said Andrea Garcia, owner of Hot Momma's Hair Salon. "We all knew then that she wasn't right."

Garcia said Phipps inexplicably remained inside her car Wednesday morning. Temperatures in La Mesa at the time were hot, and according to Garcia, she called paramedics, sheriff's and Phipps' husband to help her get out of the car.

"I've known Sharon for over two years, and never have I seen her acting like this," said co-worker Sharon Behm.