PLAINVILLE — A woman faces charges after police said she fled from officers during the annual Balloon Festival last week, almost striking pedestrians.
Jessyka Sanford, 31, of 25 Hemlock Rd., Litchfield, was charged Saturday with risk of injury to a minor, first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, disobeying the signal of an officer, driving on sidewalk and failure to drive right.
On Friday night, an officer working at the annual Balloon Festival at Norton Park noticed Sanford driving a Jeep Wrangler with a young child in the backseat, according to a police report. The officer, who was aware there is a warrant for her arrest, signaled Sanford to stop but she reportedly drove off at a high rate of speed.
Sanford drove to the area of Prior Avenue and South Washington Street, a major pick up and drop off location for the festival where hundreds of people were walking, and another officer signaled her to stop, the report said. Instead, Sanford drove on the front lawn of a home, and the officer had to yell for pedestrians to move out of the way to avoid being struck. Sanford then drove onto Prior Avenue, nearly hitting more pedestrians, including children the report said.
Other officers posted at intersections also saw Sanford fleeing and driving recklessly. At one point Sanford drove into the parking lot of Our Lady Mercy Church, 19 S. Canal St., and drove erratically, nearly striking a woman and man with a baby stroller, the report said.
Police sent out a notification to state police in an attempt to locate Sanford. Officers were told not to engage her in pursuit because there was a child in the car, the report said.
Around 10:15 p.m. an officer reached Sanford by phone. She said she was driving the Jeep with her husband and five-year-old daughter inside. Sanford said she “panicked due to the fact that she had been in a lot of trouble lately,” the report said.
Sanford turned herself in to police on Saturday. She was released after posting $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Bristol Superior Court on Sept. 4.