By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter
A handcuffed Holmes Beach woman was arrested March 28 after she escaped from police custody by running on the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach and jumping into the water.
Rani Kristina Thurman, 33, is facing a charge of escape and three counts of contempt of court for not answering a court summons.
An officer had made contact with Thurman on Bridge Street around 1 a.m. after learning there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest.
She was placed in handcuffs but took off running before the officer could get her into the patrol car, according to a police report.
Thurman allegedly ran onto the pier and adjacent floating dinghy dock and jumped into the water to escape.
BBPD officers yelled several times for her to stop, before Officer John Tsakiri gave chase, jumping in the water after her, the report said.
However, Tsakiri was unable to locate Thurman.
BBPD called in the aid of the U.S. Coast Guard from the Cortez station and conducted a search of several boats anchored nearby.
The clothes Thurman had been wearing were found on one sailboat, while she was located on another boat, the report said.
Thurman told officers she had nothing to lose. As they took her into custody, she said, “I could’ve gotten away if I kept swimming but the water was just too damn cold.”
This isn’t the first time Thurman has evaded law enforcement. She has a history of violating probation and not answering court summons, according to court documents.
Thurman’s contempt of court charges relate to a case that has been reopened after she failed to appear for a March 19 hearing at the Manatee County Judicial Center.
She was originally charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest in 2012 after two Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies were injured while trying to pry a broken crack pipe from her hand.
The MCSO said Thurman was walking in the 2600 block of 13th Street West in Bradenton when MCSO deputies stopped her for not using the sidewalk.
When deputies asked if she had anything on her, she said “no,” then emptied her pockets revealing a small glass pipe, according to the report.
Thurman attempted to flee, but fell down and broke the pipe.
She was convicted March 28, 2013.
As of Islander press time, Thurman remained in custody at the Manatee County jail on a $30,000 bond. Her arraignment is scheduled for 8:20 a.m., April 29 at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave., Bradenton.
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