AUBURN – Nemaha County Judge Curtis Maschman has denied release to a woman suspected of leading police on a high-speed chase from Nebraska City to Auburn and eluding arrest by entering an unlocked house.
Melissa A. Cook, 19, also known as Jessie Washburn, is not charged with stealing the car from the Casey’s parking lot on Jan. 15, but an investigation into the pursuit directly led to her arrest.
An Auburn man told Nemaha County authorities he found a woman calling herself “Bama” in his house on the day of the chase. She told him her boyfriend had thrown her out without winter clothes and she came in the house to find warmth.
The man, Brent Tuxhorn, tried to help the woman by paying for a room at the Palmer House in Auburn.
He later learned that the high-speed chase ended yards from his front yard and began to suspect the woman.
Sheriff’s deputies went to her room at the Palmer House, but she denied them entrance. They used a house key only to find a chair wedged behind the door.
Court records say Cook eventually opened up to deputies, who report finding a vial containing two ounces of liquid methamphetamine in plain view.
Cook told deputies the vial was not hers. She is being held on a $50,000 bond, but asked to be released to attend the Sierra Francis House for rehabilitation. Judge Maschman denied the motion saying it is not a secure placement.
She is scheduled for preliminary hearing on March 9. Charges in Otoe County are pending.