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Driver gets 33 mos. for crash w/ police

A Spokane woman who ran a red light and crashed into three police detectives last summer was sentenced to nearly three years in prison.

Tonia S. Vansant, 38, is to spend 33 months behind bars for the July 16 crash that seriously injured Spokane police Detectives Mark Burbridge, Jan Pogachar and Douglas Orr, Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque ruled Wednesday.

Burbridge was driving an unmarked patrol car when Vansant ran a red light at Division Street and Sharp Avenue and t-boned the car.

Vansant had traces of cocaine in her blood system.

A jury convicted her in December.

Jury convicts woman in cop-car crash

A jury today convicted a Spokane woman of three counts of vehicular assault for a crash that injured three police detectives last summer.

Tonia S. Vansant, 38, faces 33 to 43 months in prison when she’s sentenced Jan. 6, said Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady.

Vansant has been in jail since July 16, when she ran a red light at Division Street and Sharp Avenue at nearly 40 mph and t-boned an unmarked patrol car driven by Detective Mark Burbridge of the Spokane Police Department’s major crimes unit. 

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 9: Trial begins in crash that hurt detectives

July 17: Spokane police detectives injured in crash

Trial starts in crash that hurt detectives

Trial begins today for a Spokane woman charged with three counts of vehicular assault for a crash with a police car last summer. 

Prosecutors say Tonia S. Vansant, 37, 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 of the Spokane Police Department’s major crimes unit.  

Burbridge strained his back, sexual assault Detective Jan Pogachar (left) broke her pelvis and Douglas Orr, (bottom right) a computer forensics specialist for the sexual assault unit, perforated a lung and fractured his ribs, collar bone and sternum.

Court documents say 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.

Investigators recently field a new search warrant for 1994 Isuzu Trooper after Vansant’s public defender suggested her brakes failed.

Police said that was the first they’d heard about possible brake problems in Vansant’s car.

A jury was seated on Monday. Opening statements are scheduled for this morning before Judge Jerome Leveque.

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

Bro of cop-crash driver in prison for porn

CORRECTION: Tonia S. Vansant, 36, who is accused of striking a Spokane police cruiser Friday, injuring three detectives, is the sister of Richard Vansant, Jr., who was sentenced to prison for child pornography possession July 14, family members said. Tonia Vansant’s relationship to Richard Vansant, Jr., was misidentified in the post below, which has since been corrected. Richard Vansant’s wife, who was not involved in the crash, is named Tonya L. Vansant, 39.

The brother of a woman accused of crashing into three Spokane police detectives Friday was sentenced two days earlier to federal prison for child pornography possession.

Richard L. Vansant, Jr., 44, was a BNSF Railway employee when employee found his lost iPod with images of child pornography. Federal agents served his home at 11907 E. Railroad Ave. in November 2008 and found more than 10,000 explicit images of children, according to federal court documents. Vansant also told investigators “he uses his Xbox gaming system to communicate with children through the Internet,” according to a plea agreement filed in March.

Vansant, 44, was ordered last Wednesday to serve five years in federal prison. 

Two days later, police say his sister, Tonia S. Vansant, 37, was drunk when she crashed into an unmarked patrol car driven by Mark Burbridge, (right) a detective with the Spokane Police Department’s major crimes unit, at 7:15 a.m.

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

The crash occurred when Vansant allegedly ran a red light and broadsided the police car at Division and Sharp Avenue.

Burbridge strained his back; Pogacher broke her pelvis and Orr suffered broken ribs, a broken collar bone, a fractured sternum and punctured lung.

All were released from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and are recovering at home, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. 

“While they remain in a lot of pain, they are healing and expected to make a full recovery,” according to a news release.

Tonia Vansant spent the weekend in jail and appeared in Superior Court Monday on three counts of vehicular assault.

Police said she smelled of alcohol after the crash and had poor coordination.

She remained in jail Monday evening on $75,000 bail.