AUBURN — A woman who was shot in the neck by police after a high-speed chase in Lewiston last year has pleaded guilty to eluding an officer and criminal operating under the influence, and no contest to reckless conduct.
Kristy Lee Cookson, 29, of Manchester was sentenced in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Wednesday to what equaled four years of probation and time served. The sentence included:
— For eluding police: four years in prison, with all but 238 days suspended, and two years of probation.
— For reckless conduct: three years in prison, all suspended, and two years of probation to be served consecutively with the probation for eluding police.
— For operating under the influence: 10 days in jail, to be served at the same time as her sentence for eluding police.
She will also lose her driver's license for three years and must pay a $700 fine, plus fees and surcharges.
Because Cookson has been in jail since her arrest in December 2009, she has served all of the time required. She was released Wednesday and is now on probation.
On Dec. 1, Cookson led police on a chase through downtown Lewiston in a stolen pickup, reaching speeds of 80 mph. Eventually, she crashed into a parked car and came to a stop. When she refused to get out of the truck and the vehicle suddenly lurched in the direction of two local police officers, they drew their handguns and shot at the truck. A bullet struck Cookson in the neck.
The round apparently mushroomed when it passed through a window. The slug lodged in her neck muscle in front of her vertebrae and behind her esophagus, according to court records. The surgeon who removed it called Cookson "very lucky."
Cookson has an extensive criminal history in Maine and Florida. She was charged 16 times in Broward County, Fla., according to court records there. Charges included child abuse, drug possession, eluding a police officer, resisting arrest and operating after suspension.
In Maine, Cookson was convicted in 2008 on one count of domestic violence assault and sentenced to 120 days in jail, with all suspended. She violated her probation on that charge and served eight days in jail.
Since Cookson's Maine driver's license was issued, she has been involved in one previous accident and, since 2008, has been convicted of one count of operating under the influence, operating without a license, operating an unregistered vehicle, failure to pay a fine, failure to display an inspection sticker, failure to produce evidence of insurance and three convictions for failing to appear in court on separate charges of failing to report an accident, driving without a license and operating under the influence of liquor. Cookson's license was suspended for seven months for failure to take a Breathalyzer test.
For the Dec. 1, 2009, incident she was indicted on six charges: eluding an officer, reckless conduct, violation of condition of release, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, driving to endanger and criminal operating under the influence. As part of her plea agreement Wednesday, three charges — violating condition of release, possessing scheduled drugs and driving to endanger — were dropped.
Cookson said little Wednesday except, "Yes, your honor," and, "No, your honor." Before Justice Donald Marden sentenced her, he asked if she wanted to say anything more.
"I would like to apologize for what I did," she said. "I'm really — I'm trying to change. I want to change."