Booking photo for Brittney L. Franklin (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).
LOGAN — A 36-year-old West Valley City woman has been sentenced to prison for a string of shoplifting thefts that led to a high-speed chase out of Cache Valley last summer. Brittney L. Franklin was arrested in August and has been held in jail without bail.
Franklin was sentenced in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. She previously pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, failing to stop at the command of police, possession of a controlled substance and retail theft, all third-degree felonies.
On August 14, Franklin and her co-defendant, Breaisa M. Montano, stole items from Victoria’s Secret. The two then went to Al’s Sporting Goods where Montano stole several hundred dollars in merchandise while Franklin acted as the getaway driver.
As Montano left the store, she threw the stolen items into a silver Volkswagon Jetta. A store employee tried to stop her and was hit by the car. He had minor injuries and was treated by paramedics before being released.
A deputy later recognized the Jetta driving south on US-89/91. When they attempted to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle fled south. During the chase, the car hit several construction barrels in the Wellsville area and then continued into Sardine Canyon, reaching speeds between 80-100 mph.
Utah Highway Patrol troopers spiked the car’s tires at the brake check point in Brigham City. A deputy used his vehicle to block Franklin from leaving the car. Montano, meanwhile, left the vehicle, jumped the guard rail and ran into the golf course. She was caught later.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, public defender Ryan Holdaway acknowledged that Franklin’s criminal activity was significant and put the community in danger. He explained that he had watched security camera footage from Al’s. It appeared like his client did not try to directly hit the store employee with her car but was trying to flee.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Barbara Lachmar disagreed, explaining that she had also watched the video and said it looked like Franklin tried to run over the employee. She also explained that the defendant had a lengthy criminal history, including more than 30 convictions.
Lachmar asked the court to send Franklin to prison. She said the defendant needed a “serious timeout” that only prison could offer.
Franklin expressed remorse and said she was really sorry for what she did. She told the court that she was getting older and this wasn’t the life she wanted to live.
Judge Brian Cannell granted Franklin some mercy, reducing the aggravated robbery conviction to a second-degree felony. He sentenced her to serve a term of 1-15 years in prison, and gave her credit for the time she had served in jail. He also ordered her to pay $600 in restitution to Al’s Sporting Goods.
Judge Cannell told Franklin, “I think treatment is warranted but you put the public in danger. I hope you can receive the help you need in prison.”
In December, Montano was sentenced to serve 180 days in jail and be placed on probation for her part in the crimes. She was also ordered to complete counseling.