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Watch as Texas woman slips handcuffs, swipes police car for 100 mph chase

Greg Rasa

"Criminal suspect slips out of handcuffs and steals police car" is an entire genre of reportage. Here's a case from 2015, and another from 2013, to name just a couple.

Yep, there's nothing new under the sun. But under the hot Texas sun this week, we have this summer's contribution to the genre — a woman who was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting and now faces charges that are much, much worse. And as this unfolded, everything that happened was documented by video.

Police say the woman, identified as Toscha Fay Sponsler, 33, of Pollok, Texas, ran from officers in Lufkin who responded to a report of a shoplifter in a beauty-products store. Because she ran, they arrested her, cuffed her, and put her in a police SUV, dutifully buckling her seatbelt.

You know how cop cars have wire or plexiglass barriers between the front and backseat? Well, this one didn't, or at least not much of one. The SUV's internal camera shows her deftly slip out of the cuffs, out of the seatbelt, over the seat, and then it's off to the races.

Her sly facial expressions add to the entertainment value.

Ditto a Texas cop's exclamation of "Gol dang!" as she speeds away.

As for the chase, she does a nice job of avoiding a spike strip during a 23-minute romp at speeds up to 100 mph before, as it was bound to happen, she was cornered, extracted from the SUV and cuffed again. At one point, the cops think she's trying to access a shotgun that's locked to its mount, so she's probably lucky to be alive.

Sponsler was held Tuesday night in Angelina County Jail on $18,000 bond, charged with five felonies: aggravated assault, unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest, and escape with the threat of a deadly weapon (presumably meaning either the locked shotgun or the patrol car itself).

And it all started with shoplifting.

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