The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 25, 2013

Woman charged in high-speed chase released from prison

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— MIFFLINBURG — Bail was modified Tuesday for Leslie Arthurs, allowing the woman who led four police agencies on 34-mile high-speed chase through Union County while nine-months pregnant to be freed from prison, where she had been held on $100,000 bail since the Sept. 7 incident.

Arthurs, 29, of Shamokin, likely was to be released from Clinton County Correctional Facility last night, her attorney, Brian Ulmer said.

Arthurs, who had been in Union County Jail, was taken to Clinton County after giving birth last week at an undisclosed local hospital.

Arthurs waived her preliminary hearing Tuesday before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Mensch. It was during this court time that Ulmer requested the bail modification, calling Arthurs’ actions uncharacteristic for her and noting she has no prior convictions.

Arthurs also began taking psychotropic medications again since the birth of her child last week and has been able to work with Ulmer on her own defense, he said.

Mensch granted the modification with strict stipulations:

n Arthurs must make weekly in-person meetings with the bail program of Union County Adult Probation.

n Follow all mental health and medical directions and meet weekly, at minimum, in person with those providers. Arthurs is under the care of Northumberland County’s agency for behavior and mental health.

n Notify the Union County district attorney and clerk of courts within 48 hours of any address change. Arthurs clarified Tuesday she currently resides in Shamokin; there were two previous addresses listed for her.

n Have no new arrests.

“You do all these things, and you will remain free,” Mensch said.

Arthurs appeared tired and sleepy while awaiting court to begin but was lucid in responding to questions from Mensch and Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Crossland.

Crossland objected to the bail modification, calling it “inappropriate under the circumstances.”

The chase resulted in more than $20,000 in damages to four police cars, one of which Arthurs allegedly rammed from behind while speeding up Route 15 in Kelly Township. She also collided with three state police cars during an attempt to make her stop.

Other motorists allegedly dodged Arthurs’ SUV during the chase through five Union County municipalities, according to court documents.

“That alone is no reason for ROR (release on own recognizance,)” Crossland said. “She threatened the lives of private citizens at the time, as well as the police,” noting four felony charges of aggravated assault against each police officer involved.

Crossland also said Arthurs was not taking prescribed medications at the time, a point addressed by Susan Martz, Arthurs’ caseworker with Northumberland County Behavioral/Mental Health agency.

Arthurs stopped taking her medications because of her pregnancy, Martz said, so she wouldn’t harm her unborn child. She also said Arthurs was meeting regularly with her and was possibly going to resume medication because she was late enough in her pregnancy that doing so wouldn’t harm the baby.

Martz had last met with Arthurs Sept. 4, she said, and supervised visits with her and her other two children.

Mensch was circumspect of both sides. “This is not an easy, clear-cut case,” he said, noting he had no concerns of Arthurs showing up for court dates; with no prior arrests nor auto accidents and with resuming her medication regime, he felt Arthurs’ release would not endanger the community at large.

Mensch advised Arthurs of the chance she was given with his bail decision: “Don’t mess up on this opportunity.” Should Arthurs violate any of the terms, she will be back in Union County custody “and with a bill of $100,000,” he said.

Arthurs also chose to waive her formal arraignment in Union County Court of Common Pleas, which would have taken place Nov. 4. She should appear for her formal hearing before year’s end.

Ulmer said he could not answer the location or condition of Arthurs’ baby nor the custody for her other two children.