Woman sentenced to State Prison for driving SUV into crowd

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ALBANY, N.Y. – A woman who pleaded guilty to 3 count of Assault in
the 1st Degree after driving into a group of people was sentenced
Thursday.

Shanikqua Thomas, 28, has been sentenced to 18 years in State
Prison, the maximum sentence for her felony charges. The judge also signed
an order of protection for the victims.

Emotions were running high in the courtroom Thursday
while the prosecution read the victim impact statements. Thomas began weeping
and had to be escorted out of the courtroom to compose herself.

Thomas had an opportunity to address the courtroom and told
the judge she's remorseful and is sorry for what she's done. She went onto say
she overreacted and apologizes to the families, friends and children that were
involved in the incident.

One of the victims, Martha Royal, said “For [Thomas]
to come along and strike me with that SUV on my right side, it totally messed
me up. My walking, sleeping, laying. There are times I want to do things
because I can't. But I'm not going to let that stop me.”

Thomas pleaded guilty to her charges in October. Those charges
stem from an incident that took place on August 19, 2013 in Albany.

Thomas was involved in an argument on Elk Street on a Monday
afternoon.  During the argument, Thomas entered her SUV, got into the
driver's seat, and drove in reverse toward the group of people.

Six people were struck, three of which had serious physical
injuries.

The victims, all females ages 19, 22, 25, 40, 48, and 52, were
treated at the scene by medical personnel and taken to local hospitals with
non-life threatening injuries. One victim suffered from a fractured hip,
fractured leg, and a punctured lung.

After striking the victims with her car, Thomas fled the scene on
foot. She was arrested shortly after and sent to the Albany County Jail.

According to court documents, Thomas has a history of criminal
activity in Albany. In November 2011 she was arrested after she threw a brick
at a business, breaking three windows; in June 2012 she used a BB gun to break
two windows; and on  August 6th she
allegedly stole over $600 worth of hair products and broke three windows.

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