|For Immediate Release
Case # 08NF3191
August 14, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
PAROLEE SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS IN PRISON FOR INJURING DRIVER IN CRASH WHILE RUNNING
RED LIGHT TO FLEE FROM POLICE
*Defendant and co-defendant led police on car chase after officers attempted to arrest them for robbery and extortion
SANTA ANA – A parolee was sentenced today to nine years in state prison for severely injuring a driver after running a red light in a high-speed crash while fleeing from police for a robbery and attempted extortion case. Amber Lynn Phelps, 24, Orange, was convicted by a jury on June 9, 2009, of one felony count each of conspiracy to commit a crime, second degree robbery, and evading while driving recklessly and causing serious bodily injury. The jury also found true the sentencing enhancements, as Phelps has prior prison convictions for the unauthorized use of personal identifying information in 2005 and petty theft with a prior theft conviction in 2006 and did not remain free from custody for a period of five years.
Co-defendant Julie Catherine Clifford, 22, Orange, pleaded guilty mid-jury trial on June 4, 2009, to one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime and one felony count of evading while driving recklessly and causing serious bodily injury. She was sentenced to five years in state prison.
On Sept. 23, 2008, Phelps and Clifford confronted 23-year-old Brittney Awe in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant in Anaheim because they believed the victim was having a relationship with Phelps’ boyfriend. While Phelps punched and physically attacked the victim, Clifford stole Awe’s purse. Phelps then stole the victims keys and the defendants fled the scene.
Over the next two days, Phelps and Clifford conspired to call the victim’s cell phone several times offering to return her purse in exchange for money. Awe contacted the Anaheim Police Department (APD) to report the theft and attempted extortion. With assistance from APD, Awe arranged to meet the defendants to retrieve her purse.
On Sept. 25, 2008, Phelps and Clifford drove to a fast food restaurant in Orange with the intention of exchanging Awe’s purse for money. Phelps was the driver. When the defendants arrived and pulled their car near Awe, who was standing in the parking lot, observing APD officers pulled in with their unmarked police cars to arrest the defendants.
When the defendants saw officers surrounding them, Phelps accelerated in her car and crashed into the front of an APD car before fleeing. The defendants led officers on a high-speed pursuit at over 90 mph in a 35 mph zone through Orange. At the intersection of Tustin Avenue and Heim Avenue, Phelps drove through a red light at 90 mph and crashed into the driver’s side door of a car driven by victim Scott Montgomery. The victim, a father and husband, was transported to Western Medical Center and immediately underwent surgery to remove his spleen, reposition his internal organs, treat broken ribs, and stabilize his ear, which was nearly severed. Montgomery, who also suffered a concussion, spent over 20 days in the hospital and continues to undergo surgeries and suffer from his injuries. He has been unable to work since the crash caused by Phelps and Clifford.