Trial for woman accused of stealing Lufkin PD patrol unit begins
ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The trial for a Pollok woman who is accused of stealing a Lufkin police unit and leading officers on a 23-minute chase last September began Monday at the Angelina County Courthouse.
Toscha Sponsler, 33, faces several charges including evading arrest, aggravated assault on a police officer, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Sponsler appeared before District Judge Bob Inselmann.
The state presented evidence and brought in numerous officers involved in the chase.
A police officer with the Lufkin Police Department told the jury that right before the chase started, officers put Sponsler in custody while they worked to locate two bags of merchandise she was accused of stealing. He explained that while officers were going through the bags, they saw a Lufkin police unit being driven away. The officer told the jury that immediately after, the chase began on U.S. Highway 59 and eventually headed to Zavalla, reaching speeds of more than a 100 miles per hour.
Another officer told the jury that with speeds that fast, it's a risk not only to the public but the driver as well.
"At that speed, it's potential, especially not wearing a seat-belt, sustaining fatal injuries are high," said Eddie Ibarra, an officer with Lufkin PD.
One officer who put Sponsler in custody the second time told the jury that she slipped out of her handcuffs while she was in custody the first time. He said another officer was standing outside the police unit by the door but was not peeking into the window during the moments Sponsler slipped out of the cuffs.
Another officer told the jury that roughly four vehicles were involved in the chase.
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