Austin American-Statesman (Texas)
Better tactics for transporting prisoners by Chuck Remsberg
Related Story: Handcuffed Theft Suspect Slips Out of Patrol Car While Deputies Question Another Man
AUSTIN, Tex. - A woman is in jail after officials say she stole a sheriff's deputy's car and drove it at speeds exceeding 130 mph before crashing it into a fence in East Austin.
Candice Marie Asdahl, 23, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, evading arrest, escape from custody—all felonies—and a misdemeanor charge of failing to stop and give information after an accident.
Other charges might be made, officials said.
Asdahl could face up to 20 years in jail. She remains in the Travis County Jail with bail set at $38,000.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Asdahl was a passenger in a Chevrolet Suburban that was pulled over by two deputies for failing to use a turn signal about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday at Ed Bluestein Boulevard and Loyola Lane.
One of the deputies, Christopher Douglas, said that he saw a marijuana cigarette in Asdahl's hand, and that she was attempting to destroy it, the affidavit said. He handcuffed her and put her in the back of a patrol car, and then went back to the Suburban to question the other occupants.
According to the affidavit, Asdahl was able to move her handcuffed hands to the front of her body and climb through a cage window into the driver's seat. She drove the car - with emergency lights and siren on - and was pursued by the two deputies in the second patrol car, the affidavit says.
After reaching speeds of more than 130 mph, deputies lost track of the patrol car, but it was monitored by the sheriff's dispatch office by a device.
The patrol car crashed into an iron fence at the Lantern Hill Apartments in the 6700 block of Berkman Drive. Asdahl was found by Austin police dogs about 50 yards from the crash site, still in handcuffs, the affidavit says.
Damage to the car and the fence was estimated at $2,500.
Travis County sheriff's spokesman Roger Wade said Douglas' supervisors will look into whether any policies were violated in the incident, although there is no policy on how deputies position their cages.
"You get somebody in a car, and you think they're going to stay there," he said.
"If she'd stayed in the car," Wade added, "she would've gotten off with a fine or a Class C misdemeanor."
Douglas might have to undergo retraining, Wade said. "You don't allow someone the opportunity to steal a car," he said. "So supervisors will look at that to see what he could've done better and make sure that this doesn't happen again."
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Tex: Handcuffed woman stole, crashed deputy's car