Lufkin PD releases video of woman stealing patrol unit, leading - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lufkin PD releases video of woman stealing patrol unit, leading police on chase

Source:Lufkin Police Department) Source:Lufkin Police Department)
Source: Lufkin Police Department Source: Lufkin Police Department
Source: Lufkin Police Department Source: Lufkin Police Department
Source: Lufkin Police Department Source: Lufkin Police Department
Toscha Sponsler (Source: Angelina County Jail) Toscha Sponsler (Source: Angelina County Jail)
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

On Tuesday, the Lufkin Police Department released a video with highlights from a 33-year-old woman’s 23-minute run from police after she slipped her handcuffs and stole an LPD patrol unit from the Ulta parking lot Saturday afternoon.

The 100-mph chase ended in Zavalla after a Texas Department of Public Safety troop used a pursuit intervention technique maneuver to make her lose control of the vehicle,

Toscha Fay Sponsler, of Pollok, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a first-degree escape causing serious bodily injury or threat of a deadly weapon charge, a first-degree aggravated assault against a public servant charge, a state-jail felony possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram charge, a state-jail felony evading arrest with a vehicle with a previous conviction charge, and a state-jail felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charge. Collectively, Sponsler’s bail amount was set at $18,000.

According to a Jessica Pebsworth, a spokeswoman for the Lufkin Police Department, Sponsler ran away on foot when Lufkin PD officers responded to Ulta on a call of a suspicious person/possible shoplifter. 

The officers took Sponsler into custody near the intersection of South First Street and Loop 287 and drove her back to Ulta, where she eventually slipped her cuffs while the two officers searched her belongings, Pebsworth said.

At that point in the video, Sponsler can be seen climbing through a window partition. She then allegedly stole the patrol unit and nearly backed in to the LPD officers. According to the Lufkin Police Department, she then drove off on Loop 287.

The two officers called for additional help, which soon led to a high-speed chase, involving the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Zavalla Police Department.

The chase reached speeds of up to 100 mph and went all the way to Zavalla.

“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,” Pebsworth said. “During the 100-mph chase, Sponsler nearly went head on with two Lufkin Police units and Constable Chad Wilson.”

A DPS trooper used a PIT maneuver to cause the stolen Lufkin PD unit to spin out of control near the intersection of State Highway 63 and U.S. Highway 69 South. Sponsler left the raod and crashed into a tree and a light pole at 6:03 p.m. Saturday. An ambulance was called to the scene to check her out, and she was taken to the county jail after she waived further medical treatment.

Sponsler was found to be in possession of a felony amount of methamphetamine after her arrest, Pebsworth said.

The Lufkin PD Tahoe sustained heavy damage in the crash, and it will likely be totaled, Pebsworth said.

Lufkin Assistant Police Chief David Thomas said Tuesday that an internal review of the incident is ongoing.

The two officers called for additional help, which soon led to a high-speed chase, involving the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Zavalla Police Department.

“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.

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