Former city council woman and intermittent Unfair Park commenter Sandra Crenshaw was arrested in August after she allegedly failed to return a rental car to Budget. Court records show that she was indicted on felony theft charges last week. We accidentally broke the news of her indictment to Crenshaw just now, when calling her for comment.
"Uh huh," she said, very calmly. "Okay. When did this come out, a few minutes ago?" She paused. "I don't have a problem with that. It gives me an opportunity to tell my side of the story. That's what democracy and government is all about."
Crenshaw was arrested in front of the public library downtown on August 3; while being taken into custody, she was transported to Baylor Hospital because of unspecified medical issues. In a request for legal council filed with the court in late September, she explains that she suffers from "extreme post-traumatic stress from two uniformed police officers setting my car on fire and later my home firebombed in a zoning dispute."
Crenshaw told us that contrary to media reports, she never asked to be taken to Baylor or complained of medical issues. "No, no, no," she said. The day of the arrest, she explained, "I saw eight police officers running towards me." She asked them if they minded taking her into custody in the basement of the library, to avoid being photographed. They agreed, she says, and led her, handcuffed, out a side door and into a waiting police car.
A few moments later, Crenshaw claims the lieutenant driving the car pulled over and said, "Oh, I forgot to read you your rights." Crenshaw says she then looked out the window of the police car, only to see Morning News crime reporter Tanya Eiserer standing there texting.
"I said, "Please hurry up. Let's get this over with," she told us. "It was my intent to beat the newspaper and the news media into the jail so you wouldn't have a perp walk." But the officer stalled, she says, so Crenshaw lay down in the back of the police car. Being that it was August, her face began to get rather sweaty. The officer asked if she was okay.
"Let's hurry up and get to jail," Crenshaw remembers replying. "I never said I couldn't breathe. I never said I was having a panic attack... I said "Let's go, before I have a panic attack,' because I do suffer from them." EMTs arrived and took her blood pressure, she says, and found it to be "extremely high." She was taken to Baylor for about four hours, then transported to Lew Sterrett, where she was arraigned and ultimately released on a $500 bond.
Crenshaw told us she never intended to steal the rental car, and that the whole thing was a misunderstanding over payment that veered out of control.
"I feel very confident that my bank records and certified letters that I sent to Budget Rental Car will show that I was trying to get authorization electronically, because I was out of town," she says. "I was communicating with the corporate billing office. And evidently there was miscommunications between the billing office and asset recovery."
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Crenshaw also told us that she was "tracked down like Idi Amin," and that she looks forward to proving her innocence.
"I assume that once we go to trial, you're going to see that this was malicious prosecution," she said. "I just want my day in court."