Man escapes from police

Suspect jumps out of cruiser, is recaptured

A Lawrence man stunned bystanders Friday when he jumped with his hands handcuffed behind him out the back of a moving police car near the intersection of Sixth and Michigan streets and led officers on a brief chase through the afternoon heat.

After being arrested for a domestic disturbance at a home on North Michigan Street, Lance Dennis, 24, was being transported in the back of a squad car when he escaped and took off running.

“He opened the door and got out,” said police spokesman Sgt. Dan Ward. “The doors have child-safety latches on them, and apparently the latch was deactivated.”

Ward said checking to see that the child-safety latch was engaged was a standard procedure officers were supposed to follow before they went out on patrol. The log for the cruiser from which Dennis escaped was not available, Ward said, because the car was still on duty, so it was unclear whether the locking mechanism had been engaged at the start of the patrol.

After he escaped the squad car, Dennis ran through a parking lot and appeared behind Ray’s Liquor Store, 1215 W. Sixth St., where a group of construction workers at McDonald’s, 1309 W. Sixth St., saw him.

Lawrence Police Officer Leo Souders Jr., left, escorts a suspect who escaped from police in handcuffs after being arrested in a domestic battery incident. The suspect, Lance Dennis, 24, was arrested Friday near Fifth and Arkansas streets.

William Slavin, a worker from Carbondale, said Dennis was making good time – especially considering he was handcuffed.

“He was booking it pretty fast for having no arms,” Slavin said.

Dennis then ran into the Arkansas Street entrance of The Woods apartment complex and was followed moments later by a police car, Slavin said.

Police surrounded the complex and began interviewing residents until they located Dennis.

Dennis was then taken to Douglas County Jail to be booked on charges of domestic battery, possession of marijuana and escaping custody.