A 43-year-old Silver Spring woman pleaded guilty yesterday to deliberately driving into a Howard County police detective who was investigating her scheme last year to bilk $3,000 from a finance company in Columbia.
Patricia Felecia Myers, also known as Patricia Felecia Cummings, pleaded guilty to charges of assault with intent to maim and attempted theft in the loan application before Howard County Circuit Court Judge Raymond J. Kane.
She was originally charged with assault with intent to murder, but agreed to plead guilty to the lesser assault charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years, said Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill.
The maximum sentence for attempted theft is 18 months.
Myers' Riverdale-based defense attorney, Lester A. D. Adams, said his client regrets her actions, but he declined to comment further. The woman can address the court when she is sentenced July 3, he said.
In court charging documents, Myers said that she panicked when the detective approached.
"I was scared, so I was trying to get away," she said.
Fraud Detective Patrick McDonald, 32, wasn't seriously injured and is working. But a week after the incident, he filed a $1.5 million civil suit against Myers, seeking compensatory and punitive damages for injuries to his right leg and mental distress.
He said he didn't file the lawsuit to get a large sum -- but to curb attacks on officers. "There's no doubt in my mind she intended to kill me in an attempt to get away," he said at that time. He couldn't be reached yesterday for comment.
On Dec. 8, workers at Household Finance Corp., at 10500 Little Patuxent Parkway, contacted Detective McDonald about a woman they suspected of fraudulently trying to get a $3,000 loan in the name of "Jan E. Hall," court records said. The workers suspected fraud because the applicant had only one form of picture identification and gave a false home telephone number.
After getting a description, Detective McDonald waited for the woman outside the finance center in Columbia's Town Center, court records said. The five-year police veteran soon spotted a woman in a 1988 Toyota Camry who matched the description.
He approached, identified himself as a police officer and displayed his badge, the records say.
He ordered the driver to get out of the car, but she refused and drove toward the officer, according to the records.
The Camry struck Detective McDonald on the right knee, knocking him against the car, court records said.
At that point, the detective drew his handgun and ordered the driver to stop. Instead, the driver put the car in reverse and drove backward until the car stopped at a curb, the records say.
Another detective arrived and ordered the driver out. While being placed under arrest, the driver tried to escape and screamed, according to the records.
Detectives found a photo identification for Jan Hall in the pocket of a wool coat in the rear of the Camry and a Casual Corner credit card used as identification at Household, court records said. Household's sales manager identified the suspect as the woman who had applied for the loan.
At police headquarters, Myers admitted the scheme and told police then she didn't realize she had struck the officer with the car.
"I think she knew she was going to run over the police officer," Ms. Hill, the prosecutor, said. "I think that's why she was doing it."