Local News

Durham Inmate Escapes, Leads Police on High-Speed Chase

Posted January 27, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— A Durham County jail inmate escaped Thursday, but she was apprehended after a high-speed chase ended with a wreck.

Investigators say Gladys Edwards was being transferred from the county jail to a sheriff's department van for a court hearing. She reportedly broke loose, jumped in the van and drove through the gate.

Deputies and Durham police say a high-speed chase led them on a wild ride through the McDougald Terrace public housing complex.

"Thank God there weren't any kids outside because she could have hit them," says witness Regina Morton.

Deputies say the van slammed into a dumpster, and neighbors claim it was quite a wreck.

"It was like a big bang," Morton said. "She tore up the fence when she turned the corner, and then hit the dumpster. She started yelling, 'Y'all help me, I need some drugs.'"

"She jump out of the van, and the police came around and cut her off," witness Fahiem Diggy said. "She was really walking, trying to run, but I guess she was dizzy from the collision."

Deputies say they cannot guarantee that a similar incident will not happen again.

"The only thing certain in life is death," Durham County Sheriff Cpt. Ricky Buchanan said. "I can't guarantee you the sun's going to come up tomorrow. We take all the necessary precautions to safeguard the facility, the inmates and the citizens. It's one of those unforeseen things."

Edwards was in jail for a violation of parole on a heroin charge. Two deputies received minor injuries as the prisoner sped away.