LUFKIN, Texas — A woman suspected of shoplifting managed to slip out of her handcuffs after being arrested, then climbed into the front of a police SUV and led officers on a high-speed chase before crashing, reports say.
Toscha Sponsler, 33, of Pollok, Texas, took the SUV on a 23-minute, 20-mile ride while trying to escape, hitting 100 mph, the Lufkin Police Department says on its Facebook page.
The incident occurred on Saturday. Sponsler was caught after she ran from police when she was suspected of shoplifting from an Ulta store.
Video shows police handcuffing her hands behind her back and she was put into the back of a patrol SUV.
Police were going through bags of items from the store when Sponsler was able to undo her seatbelt and slip off her cuffs. She then climbed through a 12-inch gap in the partition between the back and front and got into the driver’s seat.
The partition had been left open so the air-conditioning could reach Sponsler, police say.
Sponsler took off in the vehicle, at times driving head-on at other police cruisers trying to stop her. Police say they could see the woman trying to get a shotgun in the vehicle but could not because it was locked.
Police were finally able to cause Sponsler to lose control of the SUV and it came to a stop in the yard of a home. Officers broke the vehicle’s window and again took Sponsler into custody.
Sponsler is charged with 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. She was being held in jail on an $18,000 bond.
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