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Police: Woman in Texas escapes handcuffs, steals police car

Newly released body-cam and dash-cam video shows the moment a woman escaped her handcuffs and stole a police car. (Lufkin Police Department)

LUFKIN, Texas (KMPH) - Newly released body-cam and dash-cam video shows the moment a woman escaped her handcuffs and stole a police car.

It happened Saturday in Lufkin, Texas after police responded to a possible shoplifter call.

Police say when officers arrived they had to run down Toscha Sponsler, 33, of Pollok.

They were able to catch up to her, cuff her behind her back, and secure her in the patrol unit.

As officers went through her bags of allegedly stolen goods, Sponsler removed her seat belt, slipped out of her cuffs and climbed through a window partition (roughly 12 inches wide) to the driver's seat. The officer had left the partition open to allow her to receive more air conditioning in the back seat and speak with her through the course of the investigation. The partition windows are, however, shut and locked while in transport per policy.

She then led officers on a 23-minute, 100 mph chase and it ended after a DPS trooper used a PIT maneuver to make her lose control of the vehicle.

Sponsler nearly went head on with two Lufkin officers during the pursuit. Throughout the chase, officers could see her reaching for the officer's shotgun which was mechanically locked to the vehicle.

She waived medical treatment at the scene and was taken to jail where she remains on a collective $18,000 bond.

The Department on Tuesday installed a screw in all marked units that prevents the window partition from opening more than four inches.

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