A woman trying to evade the police deliberately crashed into two police cars while making her get-away and almost smashed into another two police vehicles.

On Friday, Berkeley police spotted a 1996 Honda Passport that fit the description of a vehicle used in a March 18 robbery at a grocery store in Berkeley, according to a police department press release. Police attempted to stop the car in the 1500 block of Stuart Street, but the driver did not comply with their orders.

“The driver then put the vehicle in reverse and rammed into one of the police cars,” according to the press release. “After pulling forward, the driver again put the car in reverse and struck a support column of the apartment building staircase, narrowly missing a police officer. Still in reverse, the driver struck the apartment building and the same police car a second time. In the continued efforts to get away, the driver sped over a lawn and collided with yet another police car, making it inoperable. Two other police officers were nearly struck as well.  As the driver fled east on Stuart Street, she then aimed her vehicle at a responding police car, nearly crashing head on.”

Police eventually caught the driver after she abandoned her car on California Street near Dwight Way and tried to flee on foot. Police arrested Vanessa Williams, 24 years old, from Berkeley. She was taken to Santa Rita Jail where she is being held in connection with ten violations, including assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run, resisting arrest and violating probation. No one was injured in these incidents.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

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  1. The previous (2008) arrest was for child cruelty:possible injury/death as well as for drugs.

    It says she was sentenced for those 2008 crimes, which presumably means she was convicted. They are dockets S541296 and 541296. Anyone know how to find more information about the verdicts?

  2. Looks like there was some poor reading on my part — When I read “held in connection with ten violations” I thought they meant ten separate incidents.

  3. @ Elmwood Neighbor, thanks for the link.
    @Laura Menard – Williams has not been charged been with being under the influence or being in possession of a controlled substance. In fact, she’s only been arrested once before, back in 2008 for a drug charge. No lengthy record as suggested by Sharkey asnd that includes her aliases.

  4. Scallwag,

    I live in the area of the car chase and crash, people witnessed the arrest, cops confirmed.

    and seriously, I do not post anything I can not back up

  5. Unfortunately I do not. Since the perp’s name is the same as a popular celebrity singer, I have had a hard time finding out anything about her previous arrests. Perhaps Mrs. Menard will provide her source.

  6. @ Laura Menard – Is it fact that your neighborhood has crack users or that Williams was on crack and crazed? Do you know her from your neighborhood? Have you or someone you know seen her hiogh or acting out? More information might help me connect the dots that lead from speculation to a reliable inference that she was “on crack and crazed” as you claimed.

    @Sharkey – Whether she’s got a long rap sheet with crack arrests is something I cannot confirm as I don’t have access to that information. Do you have that information? If not, then it’s speculation, something better left to gossips, not honorable people.

  7. @ bs — Crack is still a big problem. Specific drugs don’t suddenly go away once they’re no longer in vogue with white yuppies.

    @ Scallywag — The perp in this situation has a long rap sheet. Perhaps she’s been arrested for crack in the past.

  8. Crack and crazed, meth and crazed, sick from not getting junk and crazed, bath salts and crazed. I think everyine accepts the fact that overdoing and being addicted to some drugs can make you paranoid and dangerous. I don’t think it’s confined to one neighborhood. Besides, without further evidence, it’s pure speculation that Williams was on crack.
    Facts, Ms. Menard, are what make reasonable people change their minds. Otherwise it’s just fearmongering.

  9. @ Laura: Well, I can’t think of any other reason why ramming police cars as part of your escape plan seemed like a good idea!

  10. oh laura, crack is so 1984 .. just like vanessa wiliams (the original)


    desperate dimwits are forever, though.

  11. I believe for the 3 strikes to take effect, they cannot be concurrent incidents. They need to be 3 separate events. I think that woman has been watching too many action movies! Glad they caught her. Good to know she’s off the streets.

  12. @bigfriday – The issue of the race of the “perp” as you call her is a red herring. Ms. Williams is already in custody as the article above states. There is no need to know the race of a suspect unless the suspect is at large or race is a factor in the crime. If the suspect is at large then a full description is reasonable. If race is a factor in the crime then it is reasonable to discuss race during the proceedings because it would be an element of the charged offense. It might be helpful if you and few others would drop this indignation at the fac that there are people living and, yes working, in Berkeley who are of other races and nationalities than your own. It really drags down the level of intelligence on this site.

  13. Yes. Attempting to hit an officer with a vehicle younger driving is considered assault with a deadly weapon. I have a friend that was charged with that. The charge was dropped.

  14. LAMO! that is beyond funny. God, I hope there’s surveillance footage–opps, that’s right, this is Berkeley. Don’t wan to profile any of the perps ofcouse….

  15. Does attempting to hit a police officer with a car count as assault with a deadly weapon?

    If so, will she be eligible for three-strikes-you’re-out imprisonment thanks to her lengthy rap sheet?

    Anyone who has already committed that much crime at the age of 24 needs some serious jail time to cool their heels.