A suspected shoplifter led police in Texas on a dangerous high-speed pursuit on Saturday after she slipped her handcuffs and stole a police car.
Authorities said Toscha Sponsler, 33, reached speeds of 100 mph while attempting to flee officers. They’d detained her in the back of their vehicle for allegedly stealing from an Ulta Beauty store in Lufkin. But she climbed through a 12-inch-wide window partition onto the driver’s seat and sped off.
“Sponsler nearly went head on with two Lufkin officers and a Huntington constable during the pursuit,” Lufkin Police Department wrote on Facebook. “Throughout the chase, officers could see her reaching for the officer’s shotgun which was mechanically locked to the vehicle.”
Officers detained Sponsler for a second time some 23 minutes later, when a Texas State Trooper “used a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver to make her lose control of the vehicle,” which she crashed into a tree.
The suspect refused medical treatment at the scene and was transported to the Angelina County Jail, where she remains in custody on $18,000 bond.
Sponsler faces a slew of charges, including escape causing serious bodily injury, threat of a deadly weapon, aggravated assault against a public servant, possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest with a vehicle with a previous conviction and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Additional charges are also pending.
In a bid to prevent such an incident from happening again, the police department said it has now installed additional screws in all its marked units to stop the partition from opening more than four inches.