Archive for Sunday, October 22, 1995

LAWRENCE MAN ESCAPES FROM ARKANSAS PRISON

October 22, 1995

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Chad Beers remains at large after his escape Saturday.

Former Lawrence resident Chad Beers apparently is hoping his third time running from the law will be a charm.

Beers, 25, escaped from the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville, Ark., about 10 a.m. Saturday after jumping over the prison fence when he was in an exercise area, said Wayne Jordan, spokesman for the Arkansas State Police. Beers had been held at the center since Sept. 12 for the U.S. Marshal's office. This is the third time he has been a fugitive in the past three years.

Late Saturday, about 75 Arkansas and federal authorities were hunting for Beers in woods near Dutch Mills, Ark., using planes, helicopters and dogs, Jordan said. The city is just two miles east of the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line.

After escaping from the Arkansas detention center, Beers allegedly broke into the residence of an elderly woman, tied her up and stole her 1973 Ford, Jordan said. The woman, who suffered minor injuries, untied herself and called police.

A Prairie Grove, Ark., police officer spotted the car Beers had stolen speeding down Arkansas Highway 59 and began chasing him. Beers crashed into a ditch trying to elude police, then jumped and ran from the vehicle, Jordan said.

"If this guy is in there, we're going to find him, I guarantee," Jordan said.

Kansas law enforcement agencies were issued an attempt-to-locate bulletin about Beers' escape and were alerted that he might be heading back to the state late Saturday afternoon. Late Saturday, two U.S. marshals were in Lawrence as a precaution, should Beers make his way back here.

Beers has been in and out of jail cells since 1988, when he was sentenced to five to 20 years on a bank robbery conviction in Lawrence. On Oct. 1, 1993, Beers was arrested for an armed robbery of a Lawrence grocery store, and police discovered he was wanted for kidnapping in Arkansas. Four days after that arrest, Beers escaped from a sheriff's deputy who had taken him out of jail for a medical examination. He was recaptured on Oct. 27, 1993, in Corpus Christi, Tex., and later convicted for the Arkansas abduction and sentenced to to 14 years in prison.

While being held in the Sebastian County Jail in Fort Smith, Ark., awaiting transfer to a federal penitentiary, Beers escaped on Aug. 30, 1994. He led authorities in four different states on an eight-day chase, including stops in Lawrence, where he stole a city vehicle. He finally was arrested in Lincoln, Neb. During that run from justice, Beers suffered a gunshot wound, robbed a store, wrecked a vehicle and struck a victim in his path with a wrench.

Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson said he fears what might happen to authorities or innocent bystanders in Beers' latest escape.

"I know it can't end without someone getting hurt every time," Anderson said.

Though he doesn't know where Beers might be headed, Anderson said, he didn't rule out Lawrence as a possibility.

"As a general rule, that's what he does."

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