EVERETT — It was a rainy day. The young woman was leaving class at Edmonds Community College, headed to her car in the parking lot.
A stranger approached, short and stocky, with her blonde hair in two braids down her back. She tapped on the car’s window.
The woman said her ride hadn’t shown up and she was desperate to reach a nearby hospital where her young daughter was getting treatment. She was cold and wet. Could she please have a ride?
The driver, a 17-year-old Running Start student, hesitated. She didn’t know this woman. But she “felt so bad and felt so human” that she was moved to help, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Michael Downes said Wednesday.
Christa Rose Gleason climbed into the car that Oct. 20 afternoon. A few minutes later, the convicted felon had forced her way behind the wheel, pushed the girl out the driver’s side door, and was dragging her down the street.
The teen let go after receiving minor injuries. Gleason got away in her Subaru. The vehicle, and Gleason, were tracked down a few days later at a foreclosed home that had been taken over by squatters.
Downes on Wednesday sentenced Gleason to seven years in prison for the first-degree robbery, a carjacking the judge called “an absolutely terrible, rotten thing to do.”
It was the sixth time Gleason, 26, of Mill Creek, has been convicted of a felony. She told the judge that most of her problems over the years stem from a powerful hunger for drugs and little impulse control.
She swore that this time she was ready to make a change, in part because she really does have a daughter, still younger than 3. She said she hopes to be a better mother, and was sorry for creating stress for her mom, now in her 50s, and raising the child.
Downes reminded Gleason that her parental rights were terminated after the carjacking arrest. She hadn’t just caused stress for her family, but had completely upended their lives.
He also noted that judges in 2011 had agreed to shorten her time behind bars in exchange for drug treatment, but that Gleason had opted not to follow through.
“You need to wake up,” Downes said.
He agreed with deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter, who said that Gleason’s decision to rob somebody by preying on their willingness to help someone in distress deserved a significant punishment.
“You dragged her down the street,” the judge said. “You are lucky she didn’t get killed.”
Scott North: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snorthnews.