Eighteen Wheels, and a Five-State Man Hunt

Wow. Some stuff is just weird. Not as weird as someone punching vegetation, but pretty weird all the same. This came from the Guelph Mercury.

Prisoner on the run to visit ill mom

NASHVILLE, TENN. (Jan 27, 2007)

It has all the makings of a country song: an escaped prisoner, his terminally ill mother, a Wal-Mart truck, NASCAR and a Nashville singer’s tour bus.

Since Christopher Gay, 32, escaped from a prisoner transport van Sunday in South Carolina, police say, he has evaded a five-state manhunt by stealing a pickup, a big rig and the bus that belongs to singer Crystal Gayle.

No one has been injured, and the search for him continued yesterday.

Initially, police say, his motive for fleeing was simple. “I take it he was just trying to see his mom,” said Michael Douglas, the police chief in Pleasant View, Tenn., near the home where Gay’s mother is dying of cancer.

Gay, who has a history of theft involving trucks and other heavy equipment, escaped during a bathroom break in Hardeeville, S.C., as he was being taken from Texas to face felony theft charges in Alabama. The van was taking a route allowing it to pick up prisoners in other states.

He stole a pickup truck in South Carolina and made his way more than 300 miles northwest to Manchester, Tenn., where he stole a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer filled with $300,000 worth of merchandize, police said.

On Tuesday, Gay got to within 50 metres of his mother’s house, about 40 kilometres northwest of Nashville, but abandoned the Wal-Mart truck and fled into some woods, authorities said.

Since then, authorities believe he stole the bus belonging to Gayle — the younger sister of Loretta Lynn.

A man believed to be Gay arrived Thursday night at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., telling the track’s manager he was there with NASCAR racer Tony Stewart and asking him for help getting a new generator for the tour bus, officials said.

The Speedfest 2007 event is being held there this week, but there are no plans for Stewart to appear.

Track officials, suspicious of the man’s story, gave authorities the licence plate number of the tour bus.

Gayle didn’t know the bus was missing from the Nashville garage where it was parked until speedway officials called Thursday night, police said.

Her husband and manager, Bill Gatzimos, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment yesterday, but he told WSMV-TV , “There’s got to be a country song in having your bus stolen and taken for a joyride by a fugitive.”

Allrighty then. This guy, I think, is both extremely lucky and extremely stupid. First off, how did he pull off getting out of a prison van, presumably full of cops? I’m sure people have tried to escape from those things before.

Then, what’s with the need to steal large, easy-to-spot vehicles? I can see stealing one truck because it was the closest thing when he got out of the prison van, but then, wouldn’t you want to try and blend in? Why would your next choice be a Walmart tractor-trailer full of goods? It probably has a GPS on it so they can track it if it ever goes missing!

Then, I get the idea that he might have originally decided to visit Mamma, but then decided he might get caught if he stayed. But why would your third choice of transportation be a tour bus which you drive straight to a racing festival and use to draw the attention of officials?

And how has he still avoided getting caught! I want him to pick my next lottery numbers. He might help me win big, having that much luck.

I’m so immature. I still think the funniest line in this article is, “A man believed to be Gay.” I know it’s his last name, but it’s funny!

I wonder how much longer he’ll be able to stay on the run. What will he steal next, an army tank?

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