Inmate captured after 15 minutes of freedom

March 29, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - An inmate fresh from a circuit court appearance led Lincoln sheriff's deputies on a short chase Friday afternoon past Main Street, through a thicket and into a vacant lot near Anderson Heights, all while barefoot, sporting jail stripes and in handcuffs.

Joseph Wilson, 34, of 885 Goshen Road, had appeared in court that morning for a pre-trial conference on Lincoln County charges of receiving stolen property valued over $300. Wilson is being housed in the Boyle County Detention Center on multiple theft and burglary charges. He and his wife, Rebecca Wilson, were allegedly videotaped breaking into a Mercer County home at Christmas time. He faces similar charges in at least five counties.

At approximately 1 p.m., Friday he was seen on Main Street, fleeing from several members of various law enforcement agencies, running from the Courthouse toward the Courthouse Annex and Coleman's Drug Store.

"I was crossing Main Street, and I glanced to the right to check traffic, and saw a man in a black and white striped outfit running between Coleman's and the circuit clerk's building, looking back over his shoulder toward the jail," said eyewitness Jennifer Brummett of Moreland. Brummett said she believed Wilson to have been handcuffed because of the awkward nature of his run, with his wrists held closely together in front.


"We were coming back to transport him (to Boyle County Detention Center), and he just bolted. He said he was worried about his family. Not when he was running, but after we caught him," said Deputy Linda Demaree. Demaree was responsible for ending the chase by apprehending the suspect in a vacant lot approximately 15 minutes after his escape. Wilson had made the entire trek barefoot.

"He had kicked the (prison-issued) flip-flops off outside the courthouse," said Demaree.

"Deputy (Ronnie) Smith had eye contact with him, and hollered at him to stop. He (Wilson) stopped and looked back at him, and took off," said Demaree.

The deputies lost contact with Wilson for about 10 minutes, said Demaree, before he cut through a thicket into the vacant lot.

"I hollered at him to hit the ground, face first, and he did," she said. The sheriff's office declined to comment when asked if a weapon had been pulled to subdue Wilson, but did say no shots were fired.

Civilians called in updates on Wilson's location

No civilians were injured during the chase, though some called in with updates on Wilson's location.

"We had several people call 911 saying they had seen him," said Demaree. The sheriff's office even received a call, "saying he was at such and such address."

"If there were any injuries, it was from coming through the thicket," said Demaree, referring to Wilson.

In addition to his 13 charges of theft by deception over $300 and burglary in multiple counties, Wilson could now be charged with second-degree escape.

Wilson is scheduled to appear in Garrard County Circuit Court for a pre-trial conference on previous charges on April 16.

Garrard County Sheriff Ronnie Wardrip said he would treat Wilson with more caution when transporting him after Friday's jog in handcuffs.

"Sometimes we use leg shackles in court, so they can't run," said Wardrip. "If they told us he tried to escape, we'd probably use leg shackles and handcuffs together."

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