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Sirens & Gavels

Suspect in cop-car crash was on cocaine

A woman accused of crashing into an unmarked police car in July, seriously injuring three detectives, tested positive for cocaine, new court documents show. 

Tonia S. Vansant, 37, is scheduled to go to trial next month for three counts of vehicular assault. Police say she ran a red light at Division Street and Sharp Avenue on July 16 and t-boned an unmarked patrol car driven by Detective Mark Burbridge (right) of the Spokane Police Department’s major crimes unit.

Also injured were sexual assault Detective Jan Pogachar (left) and Douglas Orr, (bottom right) a computer forensics specialist for the sexual assault unit.

 Police thought Vansant might be drunk. A search warrant filed recently says Vansant’s blood test showed traces of cocaine as well as benzoylecgonine, the major metabolite of cocaine; and topiramate, which is used to treat seizures but can be used to treat cocaine addiction.

The warrant was used to search Vansant’s 1994 Isuzu Trooper for evidence of drug use and to take photographs and measurements of the SVU “for collision reconstruction purposes,” police wrote. 

Though the detectives’ injuries were not considered life threatening, all three missed work and are undergoing physical therapy for extensive injuries.

Burbridge strained his back; Pogacher broke her pelvis and returned to work on light-duty status only. 

Orr perforated a lung and fractured his ribs, collar bone and sternum. He underwent surgery to place pins and plates in his body and has not yet returned to work, according to the search warrant, which was signed Oct. 13 by Cpl. Dave Adams. Vansant remains in jail. Last month, Judge Ellen Kalama Clark rejected Vansant’s request for a two-day furlough to move her possessions into storage because of an eviction. Clark cited Vansant’s previous conviction for bail jumping and her history of skipping court.

Past coverage:

July 19: Brother of cop-crash driver in prison for porn

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