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  • mcprison mcprison Jun 11, 2001 1:10 AM Flag

    Escape from guards in FLA
    Saturday, June 9, 2001

    Courthouse escape under investigation

    HEARING: Prisoner spent night after escape taunting officers
    and fighting with jail staff.

    The News Herald

    An escapee who threatened to fight arresting officers Thursday
    night was still too riled up to attend his bond hearing Friday

    Tracy Lashawn Collier, who escaped from Bay County Courthouse
    Thursday afternoon, was taunting officers as they returned him to
    a cell Thursday night, and was still fighting staff the next
    morning. Court records stated that he was uncooperative and did
    not show up for first appearance.

    Collier was arrested and charged with escape after he eluded
    correction officers who were guarding him in the law library on the
    third floor.

    An investigation of the escape is ongoing, but the Bay County
    Sheriff's Office reported that Collier was allowed to go to the
    restroom unattended. He got out of his leg irons and orange jump
    suit and left out a service entrance wearing a T-shirt and shorts.

    "It's beyond me how he got out with two guards watching him,
    but he did," Lt. Greg Peel said. "There's a stairwell near the
    bathroom, but we don't know how he did it yet."

    Later that evening, deputies caught Collier at his mother's house
    with his bags packed to leave town, Peel said.

    "A vehicle pulled up to pick him up. He came outside and we got
    him," Peel said. "He had gone to his momma's house to get his
    clothes, and had already packed his bags."

    Peel said officers Joe Smiley and Gary Dorman were watching the
    house for two hours waiting for Collier to arrive, but he was
    already inside the entire time.

    "(Smiley and Dorman) were sitting on a propane tank looking
    through a hole in the privacy fence the size of a 50-cent piece,"
    Peel said. "They were sweating and letting the mosquitoes eat
    them up.

    "I said, 'Usually on a stakeout we sit in the car where there's air
    conditioning,"' Peel said. "But Smiley looked up at me and said,
    'There's gonna be one chance to get him, and I'm gonna be
    ready.' And he was."

    Witnesses reported seeing two women with Collier when he
    escaped from the courthouse. Peel confirmed the report, but said
    no one has been arrested for helping Collier escape.

    Collier's bond hearing was rescheduled.

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