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A Hot Springs woman arrested last summer after wrecking a vehicle she claimed she stole to escape her boyfriend pleaded guilty to felony charges Tuesday in Garland County Circuit Court.

Kelsie Elizabeth Willingham, 21, pleaded guilty to theft of property over $25,000 and first-degree criminal mischief and was sentenced to 10 years' probation on each count, and to breaking or entering, and was sentenced to six years' probation, all to run concurrently.

Willingham, who listed no prior criminal history, was also fined $300 and ordered to pay $420 in court costs. A hearing to determine how much restitution she must pay for the damages to the stolen vehicle and other property is set for July 9.

According to the probable cause affidavit, on July 2, 2018, around 4:30 p.m., Garland County sheriff's Lt. Mike Roberson and Sgt. Bill House responded to a disturbance involving a "frantic female" in the 400 block of North Crystal Springs Road in Royal.

Roberson made contact with a homeowner of a residence there who stated a woman, later identified as Willingham, had stolen his 2013 Chevrolet Suburban, valued at $45,000, and crashed it into a wooded area on his property and then fled on foot into the woods.

House located Willingham in the area of Dudley Circle not far from where the vehicle was wrecked and she made a spontaneous statement that she had broken into a garage and stolen a vehicle "to get away from her boyfriend."

The affidavit notes the victim's residence had an attached garage where the Suburban was parked and while the garage door was down, a walk-through door on the side was unlocked. It was also noted the keys were in the vehicle.

After the Suburban was located in the woods, damage to the vehicle was estimated at about $40,000 and the wooded area and trail where Willingham attempted to take the vehicle reportedly sustained about $10,000 in damages.

Willingham was taken into custody and initially held on $12,500 bond. The bond was later reduced to $10,000 and she was released on Aug. 27. She pleaded not guilty to the charges on Sept. 4 and a disposition hearing was later set for Tuesday.

Local on 05/18/2019

Print Headline: HS woman who wrecked stolen vehicle damaged trail, pleads guilty to charges

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