Mother accused of being high on meth, leading police on chase with children in van

Erica Braswell entered not guilty plea

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Bail was doubled Friday for a mother accused of being high on meth and leading police on a high-speed chase last week. Her two small children were in the vehicle during the chase.

Erica Braswell, 26, walked into the courtroom at the South County Courthouse with hot pink hair and wearing a prison-issue sweatshirt.

Her public defender entered a not guilty plea for five felony charges. If convicted, Braswell could spend eight years behind bars.

National City Police stopped Braswell last week after noticing the van she was driving was stolen. Braswell took off and lead police on a short chase through National City.

"Running red lights and stop signs, barely avoiding other vehicles the whole time while her 5- and 6-year-old children were in the back of the vehicle unrestrained," Deputy District Attorney Mary Loeb told the judge.

Braswell crashed about a mile away on a small, ice plant-covered hill. That is where police arrested her and found the children in the back.

"One of the children did receive a laceration to his head, which required some sutures," said Loeb.

Loeb asked the judge to double Braswell's bail to $200,000. Braswell was visibly annoyed when the judge agreed. Deputies had a hard time getting Braswell to leave. They had to force her out of her seat as she mumbled words towards the judge. The judge ignored her.

"I think whenever there's children in the car, there's nothing typical about a DUI case," said Loeb.

Braswell will be back in court later this month to begin her defense.

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