If you need to evade police, you’ll generally want to blend in. Sticking out like a sore thumb will just help the cops pick you out of crowd. But a California woman recently slipped between cops’ fingers during a high speed chase — even though she was driving a van painted to look like Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Machine.
Though the Mystery Machine is “always ready to provide a quick getaway,” the authorities didn’t find the unusual chase, nor its link to the cartoon, amusing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“You can’t really get caught up in the cartoon because it’s a serious business,” said Cpl. Levi Solada.
Why Sharon Kay Turman, 51, was driving a van that looked like the Mystery Machine is unknown, as are her whereabouts a day after the police chase.
It all began shortly after noon on Sunday. Turman was wanted on suspicion of violating her probation, though it’s unclear what the alleged violation was or what the woman had been arrested for in the past.
The Shasta County Probation Department had contacted Redding Police to track the woman down, CBS News reported, and police thought it would be easy — thanks to her unique van.
At 12:50 p.m., police spotted her in Redding driving a 1994 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. That’s a generally inconspicuous vehicle. However, this one was painted teal and green, and its side was splashed with the words “The Mystery Machine.”
“It did have the ‘Mystery Machine’ theme on it, so that was easy to pick up,” said Sgt. Mike Wood.
According to the Redding Record Searchlight, cops tried to pull her over, but the woman wouldn’t have it. She refused to slow down and instead hit the gas, speeding up to race down the road and showing a “blatant disregard for motorist safety,” police said.
They gave chase.
The Mystery Machine fled down South Market Street, allegedly without concern for the safety of other drivers on the road. A dangerous high-speed chase ensued down major boulevards, highways, and the interstate.
As the police gave chase, Turman drove through an intersection, ignoring a red light. The Times reported that she nearly hit four cars, while KRCTV specified that she actually did strike four other vehicles. Injuries weren’t reported.
Police stopped the chase because the speeding Mystery Machine was imperiling other drivers. They also lost sight of her, but not for long.
The sore-thumb Mystery Machine was spotted again, and the chase restarted. Police said the woman continued to endanger other motorists with her erratic driving. She ran several red lights and drove onto the highway at a high rate of speed.
At one point, the Mystery Machine reached speeds of 100mph — by this time, she’d made it to another county. Police called off the chase again, concerned for public safety, but a California Highway Patrol helicopter kept an eye on her as she sped off toward the highway.
The probationer eventually abandoned her Mystery Machine after the police chase, and according to Fox News, the chopper caught her getting out of the van. She is still on the loose.
The Mystery Machine was recovered and impounded by police, its role in the chase now legendary.
Of course, the van was already famous. In the classic Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo, it drove the sleuthing Great Dane and his Mystery Inc. gang, including Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy, around on their adventures, solving crimes and debunking supernatural phenomena.
Both the California Highway Patrol’s helicopter and sheriff’s deputies were involved in the high-speed pursuit. The public near Redding in Northern California are being asked to keep their eye out for Turman and to call them if she’s spotted again.
[Photo by Patrick Hard/Shutterstock]