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Suspect Fleeing Courthouse Steals, Then Crashes Police Cruiser

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - An apparent escape attempt by a man appearing before a judge at the Tarrant County Courthouse ended with a smashed police cruiser and an injured bystander Tuesday.

Police say 33-year old Fred Lee Jackson and his friend Terrence Lee Crowder made an appearance before a magistrate judge in a small, basement courtroom of the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center.

Deputies say the bailiff informed the men he’d been notified of a felony warrant out on Jackson and asked which of the two was he.

Investigators say Crowder initially claimed to be Jackson then said he wasn’t.  As the bailiff moved toward the men, deputies say Jackson bolted for the door.

He then, “Takes off through the courtroom doors and hits the street,” said Terry Grisham, with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office.

Fort Worth police were notified about the escape and began searching for Jackson.

At some point, a female officer apparently spotted the suspect.

“She then exited her vehicle and pursued that individual on foot,” said Fort Worth police spokeswoman Sharron Neal. “That individual made a 180-degree turn on that officer, ran back to her patrol car, and got into her vehicle.”

photo33 Suspect Fleeing Courthouse Steals, Then Crashes Police Cruiser

A prisoner attempted to escape from custody in a police cruiser in downtown Fort Worth on April 24, 2012. (credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD)

The 33-year-old suspect took off in the police cruiser but crashed about a mile away, broadsiding an SUV at 7th Street and Calhoun. The view from Chopper 11 showed both vehicles pushed up onto the curb and a traffic light lying on the ground.

Calhoun was temporarily closed while police conducted an investigation.

Jackson and driver of the SUV were both taken to an area hospital. Their injuries were not life threatening.

Ironically, deputies say even with the felony warrant, Jackson could have been a free man Tuesday night if he hadn’t fled.

“He could have easily come in today and the magistrate could have set a bond for him and said, ‘OK sir, here’s your probable cause warrant, here’s your bond, pay the clerk and you’re free to go right back where he went.’”

Jackson faces charges of evading and resisting arrest with more charges pending.

Crowley is charged with hindering apprehension.

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