Authorities capture prison escapees after chase

Thursday, August 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WOODWARD, Okla. (AP) _ Law officers captured three escaped prison inmates Wednesday afternoon after chasing the trio in a stolen car more than 20 miles.

The car crashed into the back of a passenger van near the intersection of U.S. Highways 281 and 270 just after 3 p.m. and all three William S. Key Correctional Center escapees were taken into custody without incident, authorities said.

About an hour earlier, the inmates burst into a west Woodward residence, tied up the couple who lived there and stole their vehicle, Woodward County Undersheriff Gary Stanley said.

``They stole their car after they ate some food,'' Stanley said.

The couple wasn't harmed.

After someone reported seeing the men in the couple's car, Woodward police pursued it on county roads before reaching U.S. 270 and heading south, Stanley said.

The sheriff's office and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol eventually joined Woodward police in the chase as the car headed toward Seiling in Dewey County.

Stop sticks deployed by the officers deflated one tire, but that didn't immediately stop the car, Stanley said.

``They got one of the tires but they continued driving about 20 miles without a tire on one side and over 100 mph,'' he said.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper used a tactical maneuver, ramming his cruiser into the fleeing car from behind, authorities said.

The car turned clockwise, then hit a van that had been parked on the shoulder by the driver who saw the chase coming, authorities said.

Authorities spotted Ronny Haslip, Brandon Maddox and Robert Neely several times since Monday, when they fled the Fort Supply prison, Stanley said.

Security officers noticed the trio were missing during a routine head count Monday morning.

The men allegedly broke into a house northwest of Woodward, but were hard to spot after running along rugged terrain around the North Canadian River, Stanley said.

The trio were taken to the Woodward County Jail. They already face escape charges.