If Christina Harris really wants to be “a positive person in society,” rather than one who brags about fighting police officers, she can try again in about six years.
The Wyoming woman will serve at least that time in prison for ending a Peoria police officer’s 20-year career by crushing her ankle as the officer tried to pull Harris from her car in an East Peoria parking lot last December.
Harris, 33, was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years on charges of escape, aggravated assault of a police officer and resisting an officer. Credit for time in custody since her arrest and good behavior will shorten the term. She pleaded guilty on Oct. 31.
It was the third case of battery to police in the past 15 years for Harris, who claimed in her sentence hearing that she’s “a different person” when she doesn’t take medications prescribed for her mental health issues.
She hadn’t taken them — but had taken morphine pills she stole from her father — when she fought with Officer Tangela Taylor in the Town Centre II lot on Dec. 6, 2015.
Taylor’s encounter with Harris, who weighs about 500 pounds and stands 5-feet-8, “severely maimed me,” Taylor testified. “I was blessed to come out of it alive,” she said, but her pain “remains constant” and her injuries have “ended my career” as a police officer.
Over the past two weeks, Harris told her husband in phone calls from jail — recorded as all such calls are — that, “This case ain’t s**t” compared to her past fights with police, including one that required “eight or nine cops” to subdue her “because I fight.”
Harris also said in the calls that she thinks Taylor is faking the extent of her injuries to collect job-related disability payments. “I can fake it, too,” she said as she discussed arguments she’d raise for a sentence of probation.
“We are done trying to deal with her,” a prosecutor said after playing the calls and before he asked Circuit Judge Paul Gilfillan to impose a 24-year term.
“Your scheming stops today in Tazewell County,” Gilfillan told Harris.
Taylor was detaining Harris for allegedly directing a bomb threat at the Peoria Police Department after two East Peoria officers arrested her in the parking lot.
Those officers left, and Taylor was waiting for a transport wagon from Peoria to arrive, when Harris pushed her away and got back into her car.
As Taylor tried to pull her out, Harris sped away, sending Taylor flying hard to the concrete. She suffered a severe head bruise, and moments later realized her ankle was badly injured, possibly when Harris drove over it. Harris then drove 70 miles back home, and was arrested a week later.
Her husband testified Harris had been abused by family members as a child and raped twice. Harris, a year short of her college degree, said she hopes to someday counsel battered women “because I know how they feel.”
Gilfillan wished her well in her future but, for now, “Your actions speak louder than your words.”
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin