Woman who tossed puppy from car to deter police during high-speed chase gets no jail time


A 27-year-old woman in Minnesota who admitted to throwing an already abused pit bull puppy out the window of a stolen car to deter police during a high-speed chase earlier this year will not serve any time behind bars.

District Court Judge Adam C. Yang on Monday handed down a stayed sentence of two years in a state correctional facility to Raylean Chastity Gurneau after she pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty overwork/mistreatment, a downward departure from the state’s sentencing guidelines, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Yang also sentenced Gurneau to 171 days in prison on one count of placing a fictitious emergency 911 call to prompt a police response, while crediting her with 171 days of time already served. Though she will not serve additional jail time, Gurneau will remain on probation for three years.

During her probation, Gurneau will be required to complete 50 hours of community work service and is legally prohibited from owning or having custody over “any pet or animal.”

At the time she tossed the dog, who police later named “Tahoe,” from the truck, Gurneau was on probation for a felony animal cruelty conviction from 2021 in which she and another man abandoned a bloody dog in a parking lot that had been beaten, starved, shot with BBs, and eventually had to have its eye surgically removed.

Raylean Chastity Gurneau and Tahoe (Ramsay County Sheriff's Office)

Raylean Chastity Gurneau and Tahoe (Ramsay County Sheriff’s Office)

Tahoe survived being thrown from the vehicle during the Jan. 30, 2023, chase with a broken leg, a nearly severed ear, and a spate of lacerations. However, despite undergoing more than $15,000 in veterinary surgeries and rehabilitation, authorities had to euthanize him in April due to ongoing behavioral issues that likely stemmed from a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse predating the Jan. 30 incident.

According to court documents obtained by Law&Crime, deputies with the Ramsay County Sheriff’s Office at about 10:54 p.m. on Jan. 30 spotted a truck running a red light near an interstate in St. Paul. When the deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop, the truck sped up and merged onto the eastbound lanes of Interstate 694 going the wrong way. Deputies then learned that the truck had been reported stolen.

Shortly after the chase began, emergency dispatchers responded to a 911 call several miles away from the ongoing chase after a female who identified herself as “Melissa” reported that there had been a carjacking during which someone had been shot. Deputies searched the area where the carjacking had been reported and found nothing. Gurneau later admitted that she placed the call to divert deputies from the ongoing chase.

“The truck then continued fleeing to Lexington Ave where it exited the interstate, drove around stop sticks that deputies had deployed, and continued driving into opposing lanes of traffic,” a probable cause affidavit stated. “As Deputies caught up and prepared to initiate a PIT (precision immobilization technique) maneuver, the truck’s back passenger door opened, and someone threw a small white dog out of the truck into the roadway in front of the pursuing squad. Because of the truck’s speed, the dog rolled on the pavement multiple times. A Deputy employed a successful PIT maneuver and the truck came to a stop in the median.”

Deputies found Gurneau in the car suffering from what appeared to be an overdose and gave her several doses of Narcan before transporting her to a hospital for treatment. Nearly 200 grams of methamphetamine were found inside of the stolen truck, police said.

The driver of the vehicle, Donovan Alan Goodman, pleaded guilty in March to counts of automobile theft and brandishing a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence. A federal judge last month sentenced him to 18 years in prison.

Another man who was in the car, Chue Feng Yang, was fatally shot by FBI agents in April after coming out of a barricaded house while holding a shotgun to Gurneau’s head.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *