May 12, 2014
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A woman with contortion-like abilities was called a Houdini after managing to free herself from police handcuffs twice in Richmond on Sunday.

The incident unfolded about 11:30 a.m., when police were called to a disturbance in the 4400 block of Bell Avenue, just south of Laurel Park and Kennedy High School, Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said. The suspect, a woman in her early 20s, was reportedly involved in a family dispute and appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

After “acting irrationally,” Abetkov said, police handcuffed the woman and discovered she was wanted on a felony warrant. While officers interviewed the woman’s family about the dispute, the woman reportedly managed to bend her body in unusual ways and free herself from the handcuffs.

“So basically she was like a contortionist; she was able to pull her shoulder out of its socket and pretty much maneuver her hand up her back and over her head,” Abetkov said.

Location of Sunday's incident.

Location of Sunday’s incident.

Police put the cuffs back on, placed her under arrest, and found her in possession of heroin following a search.

But the incident wasn’t over. After being locked in the backseat of a police car, the woman again freed herself from the handcuffs, according to police. She also tried to kick out the back window of the patrol car, Abetkov said.

Police pulled her out of the vehicle, but she reportedly continued to resist by allegedly spitting and kicking officers. An officer ended up hospitalized after the woman spit in his face during the wild arrest, Abetkov said.

“She did the whole throat-clearing, mucus spit…and it landed right on his face, some in his mouth,” the sergeant said. “He had to fill out paper for exposure and go to the hospital for a blood test.”

At that point, Abektov said she was called to the scene in order to place the woman in a police restraint device called The Wrap. A mask was also used to keep the woman from spitting. The woman was finally booked into County Jail on charges of felony battery, battery on a police officer, possession of of narcotics and the outstanding warrant.

While no one was seriously injured in the incident, the officer is awaiting blood test results related to the spitting incident, Abetkov said.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.