Criminals never learn.
One Texas woman is in custody after leading Lufkin Police on a high-speed pursuit this past weekend… in one of the department’s own vehicles. The 33-year-old suspect, Toscha Sponsler, was arrested on drug-related charges, handcuffed, and placed in the back of the patrol car before jumping in the driver’s seat of and taking off.
The two officers were reportedly searching through the suspect’s belongings as she escaped one of the handcuffs and crawled through the partition. Sponsler took control of the Chevy Tahoe police cruiser and drove off on Loop 287 at Tulane. The two officers quickly radioed for help.
The high-speed chase involved the Lufkin Police Department with additional assistance from the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Zavalla Police Department. The chase exceeded speeds of 100 miles per hour and moved from just outside of Lufkin to the neighboring city of Zavalla.
Police eventually caught up with the suspect, and used a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver, causing the car to spin out of control and crash into a tree. The crash happened near State Highway 63 at the U.S. Highway 69 intersection, just before Main Street.
The suspect sustained minor injuries, and was eventually transferred to the Angelina County jail. According to KTRE, Assistant Chief of the Lufkin Police Department, David Thomas, said that the escape will be investigated, the department ensuring that it won’t happen again.
"We are fortunate that no one was hurt during the incident," said Thomas. "Although we haven't had anything like this happen in the past, we will conduct an internal investigation to review the incident, for training or tactical deficiencies."
Sponsler was eventually charged with threat of a deadly weapon, evading arrest, and aggravated assault against a public servant on top of her original drug-related charges.