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Suspect Who Broke Free, Stole Police Car, Surrenders

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William Blankenship booking photo. (Credit: Porter County Sheriff)

William Blankenship booking photo. (Credit: Porter County Sheriff)

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KNOX, Ind. (CBS) — A suspect surrendered Thursday night, two days after he broke free from his handcuffs and stole a police car in Kouts, Ind.

Police say William Blankenship III, 22, voluntarily surrendered to officers at his home in Knox, Ind., Thursday night. He escaped in the only squad car for the Kouts Police Department on Tuesday evening.

Blankenship was originally arrested after police found heroin and methamphetamine paraphernalia in his car.

While the officer was examining the car in a convenience store parking lot, the handcuffed Blankenship stole the police car and drove away.

Authorities say before he turned himself in, they had one brief encounter with Blankenship after he fled. He radioed police for help in finding the car’s cigarette lighter and key to unlock his handcuffs.

“I’m not going to jail. I’d rather be dead than go to jail,” Blankenship told police at one point.

The squad car was later found abandoned Wednesday morning in a retention pond in southern LaPorte County, Ind., south of State Route 8 near the town of LaCrosse.

Police said Blankenship then walked to a nearby farmhouse to ask for help.

“A man was at the house looking for a pair of bolt cutters to get him out of his handcuffs and … basically said they didn’t want to get involved with anything like that,” Kouts Police Chief James Boyce said Tuesday.

After he was denied help, Blankenship somehow made it to his hometown of Knox, Ind., and stopped by his wife’s home.

When he was arrested again Thursday night, Blankenship told officers he went on the lam because he had a family and didn’t want to go to jail.

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