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Woman who rammed sheriff’s officer released after serving half of jail sentence

An Irvine woman who rammed her car into a sheriff’s officer last year at John Wayne Airport was sentenced Thursday to 364 days in jail and then released hours later.

Rebecca Lee McLaughlin, 49, had already served 182 days behind bars, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department records. That time, plus another 182 days of credit for good behavior, completed her jail sentence.

McLaughlin, who pleaded guilty in July to assault with a deadly weapon, now will serve three years’ probation.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Douglas Hatchimonji also revoked McLaughlin’s driver’s license and required her to pay restitution.

McLaughlin crashed her SUV through a barricade at a John Wayne Airport parking structure on July 16, 2013, prompting a Sheriff’s Department special officer on bike patrol to investigate the noise, according to authorities.

When the officer tried to stop her, McLaughlin turned the SUV toward him and rammed him, prosecutors said.

The officer ended up on the hood of the vehicle, and when McLaughlin hit a pole, he got off and arrested her, sheriff’s officials said.

The Orange County district attorney’s office originally charged McLaughlin with attempted murder, but officials dropped that charge in September.

Prosecutors decided that they could not prove McLaughlin intended to kill the officer because she had a mental condition at the time of the crash, according to the district attorney’s office.

Officials did not detail what kind of condition McLaughlin allegedly had.


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