Friday, January 28, 2000

Woman who copped cruiser to get mental exam

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — A Boone County judge Thursday ordered a psychiatric evaluation of a Bond Hill woman accused of leading officers on a slow chase in a police cruiser last weekend.

        Betty Folston, 37, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on charges of fleeing a police officer, wanton endangerment, menacing, harassment and car theft.

        Because a preliminary evaluation gave reasonable grounds that Ms. Folston may be incompetent to stand trial, Boone District Judge Charles Moore will recall the case Feb. 24.

        Ms. Folston's attorney, Joe Bamberger, asked the judge to consider sending the woman to a hospital for treatment. The evaluation will be scheduled in the next few days. She remains in jail.

        “The case is going to give everybody an opportunity to evaluate how the courts deal with people who are mentally ill,” Mr. Bamberger said. “Treat her as opposed to punish her.”

        Officials said Ms. Folston waved her purse Sunday at Sgt. Dave Robinson as if it might have contained a weapon. He pointed his own gun back and took cover behind his cruiser. Ms. Folston then drove off in the police car. She was arrested after Covington police used Stop Stiks to flatten the cruiser's tires.

        Ms. Folston gave no explanation Thursday. She sat quietly next to her attorney and occa sionally glanced at television cameras aimed in her direction.

        Her ex-husband Eddie Davis and two friends sat behind her. Mr. Davis said he and other members of Ms. Folston's family have been dealing with her schizophrenia for 16 years. They have taken her to the hospital many times when she decided not to take her medication, he said.

        “I just want her to get the help she needs to take care of the kids,” Mr. Davis said. “She needs to be constantly on medication so that these kinds of things can be prevented.”

        Ms. Folston had a few minutes later to talk with her attorney and friends. She asked in a whispered voice whether everyone was OK and asked for someone to find her cigarettes. When the bailiff led her out, she glanced back once at Mr. Davis.

        “You'll be fine,” he told her.


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