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Police: Woman steals friend's car with toddler in it

ASHLAND — An 18-year-old Medford woman landed in jail Monday on car theft, kidnapping, assault and other charges that carried a bail of more than $1 million after she drove off in a car with a toddler in the back seat.

Lauryne Alizabeth Stubbs was arrested early Monday after crashing a white Pontiac Sunfire that had been reported stolen — with a child inside — moments earlier. She remained in jail Monday afternoon on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle, second-degree kidnapping, third-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless endangering and reckless driving.

Another woman, who owned the Pontiac and is the mother of the 19-month-old boy buckled into the car seat in the back seat of the car, had driven to Ashland with Stubbs to meet a friend, Ashland police Lt. Corey Falls said.

At the friend's house in the 100 block of South Mountain Avenue, the mother ran inside for a few minutes, leaving Stubbs and the child waiting in the car, Falls said.

Stubbs slipped into the driver's seat and drove away, so when the mother came back out, her car and child were gone. The mother called the police to report the theft at about 1:35 a.m., Falls said.

Within 10 minutes, an officer found the car, which had rolled near the intersection of South Valley View and Eagle Mill roads. Both Stubbs and the boy had sustained minor injuries in the crash, Falls said. Both were taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center.

The boy was strapped into a car seat at the time of the crash and was released to his mother after treatment.

Stubbs was placed under arrest at the crash site, then lodged in jail after she was treated at the hospital, police said.

Falls said Monday that the mother didn't face any charges.

Cars with keys in the ignition are stolen periodically, but this case had an additional twist Falls said he hasn't seen before.

"In terms of people leaving in cars that are running, I've seen that before, but usually there's not a baby in the back," he said.

In January, Stubbs was arraigned on a charge of possession of a controlled substance. That case, which remains open, accuses Stubbs of illegal possession of the pain killer Percocet in December.

Julie French of the Ashland Daily Tidings contributed to this story. Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.