Lufkin Police Release Video of High Speed Pursuit Involving Stolen Patrol Unit
The Lufkin Police Department has released a video which shows the highlights of Toscha Sponsler's 23-minute run from the Ulta parking lot to Zavalla where a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper used a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver to make her lose control of the vehicle.
Sponsler initially fled on foot from officers responding to Ulta on a call of a suspicious person/possible shoplifter. They took her into custody near South First Street at Loop 287 and drove her back to Ulta where she eventually slipped her cuffs, climbed through a window partition and stole the patrol unit.
Throughout the chase, officers could see the 33-year-old Pollok woman reaching for the officer's shotgun, which was mechanically locked to the vehicle. During the 100 mph chase Sponsler nearly went head on with two Lufkin Police units and Constable Chad Wilson.
Lufkin Police Assistant Chief David Thomas said Tuesday that an internal review of the incident is ongoing.
"During the initial review we determined that limiting the size of the partition window in its open position could prevent this from occurring in the future if the locking mechanism fails or is not engaged," Thomas said.
Sponsler remains in the Angelina County Jail on a collective bond of $18,000 on charges of 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.
The Angelina County Sheriff's Office, Constable Chad Wilson, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Zavalla PD joined the pursuit with DPS taking the lead. Troopers then used a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver to spin Sponsler out near the state Highway 63 at 69 south intersection. She left the road and wrecked out into a tree at 6:03 p.m. A medical unit was called to the scene to check her out and she waived further medical treatment before being taken to jail.
Sponsler was found in possession of a felony amount of methamphetamine following her arrest and will have additional charges including: escape, evading on foot, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and aggravated assault on a peace officer. The Tahoe sustained heavy damage and is likely totaled.