Prisoner car.jpg

The stolen vehicle, upturned after it crashed in North County. 

Two inmates escaped from the Lincoln County Jail on Monday, July 15, allegedly carjacked a Lincoln County resident and then led police on a chase that spanned multiple counties before the escaped inmates eventually wrecked the car in North County and were apprehended.

The Troy Police Department identified them as Kurt Wallace (26) and James Flannel (38), and they were charged with stealing a motor vehicle, a Class D Felony, with bond set at $100,000 cash only. 

Wallace was originally arrested in connection to the shooting of De Smet football coach Jaz Granderson in 2018. Flannel was indicted in the deadly carjacking of a Laclede Cab Company driver, according to the Troy police.

Alex Salsman of the Lincoln County Prosecutors Office said that the only thing that the county can charge the subjects with, in Lincoln County, is theft of a motor vehicle.

“The U.S. Marshals Office, other state and federal prosecutors, may consider more charges,” Salsman said. “They would be the ones that would consider charges for the escape and all of that. The only thing we could charge for locally was the theft of the motor vehicle, which we have done.” 

Detective Tony Stewart of the Troy Police Department said that the Lincoln County Prosecutor wanted to pursue robbery charges, which are more serious, but due to the verbiage of the law, was only able to charge the two men with the Class D Felony.

“They recently re-wrote some of the verbiage in the law. For it to be a robbery, the victim actually has to sustain some sort of physical injury. And since our victim was lucky enough to get out of the vehicle without injury, it didn’t meet the legal criteria for robbery,” Stewart said.

“It was something we wanted to do, that we didn’t want to just let [them] go so we got those charges,” Stewart added

Stewart also stated that, last he heard, as of Wednesday, July 17, one individual was back in the Lincoln County Jail and the other was still in the custody of the U.S. Marshals in the hospital.

A press release from the Sheriff’s Office following the escape said that the inmates had improvised a makeshift saw from broken parts of an electric hair clipper, which was used to weaken a metal restraining bar. The bar was later ripped from the cell wall. This afforded the pair the opportunity for escape. 

A deputy coming into the jail observed the damaged at 8:34 p.m., and immediately placed the jail in a full lockdown. Within minutes there was a reporting of a carjacking in the City of Troy. Correctional staff began headcounts of all inmates to determine who was missing. 

In a release following the apprehension of the two suspects, Stewart said that Troy Officers were dispatched to the 300 block of Dunn Lane around 8:30 p.m. for a reported carjacking or robbery.

“Upon their arrival on scene, officers secured the area and began the investigation,” Stewart said in the release. “The victim stated two black males had walked down Dunn Lane towards his residence as he was backing out of his driveway and requested a ride to St. Louis. One of the subjects was bleeding profusely from the hand and had blood all over his shirt. The subjects ordered the victim to drive them to the city, the victim refused. Both subjects opened the front doors of the vehicle simultaneously. The one on the driver’s side reached for the victim. The victim stated he was scared for his life and he was able to exit the vehicle safely. The subjects then left with the victim’s vehicle and he [the victim] called 911.”

Officers got in contact with Lincoln County Central Communications (LCCC) and had the stolen vehicle’s information put out to surrounding agencies.

The vehicle was equipped with OnStar, which allowed the officers to track the vehicle in real time.

OnStar was in contact with LCCC, providing constant updates on the vehicle’s location, and the vehicle was located by other agencies in St. Charles County and a pursuit was initiated.

“The pursuit continued into St. Louis County, where multiple other law enforcement agencies joined in the pursuit. The vehicle crashed near Highway 70 and Hanley Road. Both suspects were taken into custody after a short foot chase by officers on scene,” Stewart said.

Troy Detectives responded to both the victim’s residence and the crash scene. Detectives also followed the ambulances to the hospital and were able to interview both subjects.

Both suspects admitted to escaping from the Lincoln County Jail and stealing the vehicle from Dunn Lane, Stewart said. 

According to the press release, shortly after the suspects were taken into custody, the Troy Police Department was advised that two federal inmates had escaped from the Lincoln County Jail.

It was determined that the two suspects in custody were those escapees.

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