The Lufkin Police Department Tuesday released the video of a Pollok woman who led authorities on a pursuit in a stolen police vehicle Saturday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Toscha Fay Sponsler, 33, previously of Alto, remained in Angelina County Jail on a collective bond of $18,000 for charges of escape causing serious bodily injury/threat with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault against a public servant, evading arrest with a vehicle with a previous conviction, unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance, according to county records.
The video begins as officers initially placed handcuffs on Sponsler near the South First Street and Loop 287 intersection after she allegedly fled from officers responding to a shoplifter report at Ulta. After officers took Sponsler back to Ulta, she can be seen in the video slipping one of her hands out of the handcuff and climbing through the partition into the front seat before driving off with the patrol vehicle, nearly striking officers as she pulled away.
“Sponsler led units down Loop 287 to 69 south, nearly colliding head-on with two Lufkin officers, Constable Chad Wilson and numerous motorists,” Lufkin Police Department Media Specialist Pebsworth stated in a Saturday press release. “Officers saw her continually reaching for/fumbling with the officer’s shotgun, which is mechanically locked inside the vehicle.”
The pursuit began on Loop 287 at Tulane Drive, then continued on Whitehouse, FM 58, Bartmess, Holly, Old Orchard, Fuller Springs, Tower Lane, Denman Avenue, back to Loop 287, Ford Chapel Road, FM 841 and then to U.S. Highway 69 south.
The Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Zavalla Police Department joined the pursuit, with DPS taking the lead.
The video appears to show a DPS Trooper use a driving maneuver to spin the patrol unit and force Sponsler off the road near the intersection of US 69 south and state Highway 63.
Sponsler left the road and ran into a tree at about 6:30 p.m., according to a previous Lufkin News report. A medical unit was called to the scene to check for injuries, and she waived further medical treatment before being taken to jail. Top speeds during the pursuit reached roughly 100 mph.
Sponsler was allegedly found in possession of a felony amount of methamphetamine following her arrest, the previous report stated.
The LPD Tahoe sustained heavy damage and is likely totaled.
Lufkin Police Assistant Chief David Thomas said the incident will be reviewed internally to ensure best practices were met.
“We are fortunate that no one was hurt during the incident,” Thomas said. “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.”
The video ends with a Lufkin Police officer installing a “tactical window limitation device” in a patrol unit, and the video indicates the devices were installed in all marked patrol units. The video ends with the officer giving a thumbs up to the camera as “#foolmeonce” appears on the screen.
Casey Sizemore’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.