By Tim Rasmussen
Charges have been filed against Mr. Todd Schauls, the Marshal of Springdale. The charges are gross misdemeanors consisting of False Swearing, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment and Making False Statements to a Public Servant.
The charges arose out of a traffic stop which Schauls attempted to make and the ensuing events. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Sunshine Vancleave, apparently drove through a stop sign in Springdale and then took off after Schauls approached her car. He chased her south on highway 231 until she crashed at the southern end of the bridge going into Lincoln County.
The stop and chase were observed by an off-duty Spokane County Deputy Sheriff who was in a Spokane County patrol vehicle and who, with permission from his dispatcher, joined the chase to back up Marshal Schauls in the pursuit.
During the chase at speeds up to 80 mph through areas of fog, contact was made between the Springdale Marshal’s vehicle and Ms. Vancleave’ s car multiple times. Who initiated the contact and the reports that were subsequently written regarding the events lead to the charges of false statements and false swearing.
The Spokane deputy observed and reported that Schauls’ patrol vehicle rammed the fleeing vehicle at least two times in an apparent attempt to drive the car off the road. The Spokane deputy’s observations and report differed completely from the version of events which Todd Schauls described in his reports and what Schauls told other Stevens County officers who arrived after the chase ended.
An examination of the damage to the vehicles at the scene of the crash and afterward and other physical evidence did not support Schauls’ version of the chase but was consistent with the observations and reports of the Spokane deputy.
In addition, the statement that Sunshine Vancleave gave was very much in line with the observations and report of the Spokane deputy and the physical evidence of the damage to the vehicles and completely opposed to Schauls’.
All of the above and more is public record in this case. The investigation is not completed and other charges may be forthcoming based upon the evidence.
It is important to remember that the fact that charges are filed is not evidence of guilt and all persons charged are presumed to be innocent.