DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas and Arlington Police Departments are searching for a suspect who managed to escape in a DPD cruiser despite being placed in the backseat with handcuffs around his wrists.
At 4:30 a.m. Sunday, officers were called to an apartment complex in the 4600 block of Cedar Springs after someone complained that James Huffer Jr., 31, had assaulted his girlfriend. Police said Huffer’s girlfriend had returned home with another man and found Huffer waiting for her.
Driving his girlfriend’s silver Volkswagen, Huffer reportedly chased the two around the complex, firing a weapon and eventually ramming their car.
“I heard a car squealing. I thought it was just one, squealing through the parking lot like they were doing donuts,” witness and neighbor Pam Henderson said.
Police arrived and arrested Huffer for aggravated assault. While sitting in the police cruiser alone and handcuffed, DPD spokesman C.L. Williams said in a release that Huffer “was able to move his arms in front of him, get into the front seat and drive off.”
Williams said Huffer had a “brief head start” on the officers at the scene and managed to escape. Huffer hurriedly fled to Stemmons Freeway, then hit U.S. Highway 183 and drove west. He connected to Texas State Highway 360 and drove south before abandoning the car in Arlington near Ave. H.
Authorities found the car about 20 minutes after the escape around 7 a.m. Though nothing was missing nor damaged in the squad car, Huffer was not found. Dallas and Arlington Police Departments were still searching for him Sunday night.
Williams said there was no divider between the front and back seats of the police cruiser and that Huffer’s arms were long enough to allow him to slip them from behind his back to his front. The car may have been left on to keep him warm, Williams said, as temperatures Sunday morning dropped to 30 degrees.
Williams said Huffer is likely still donning the handcuffs around his wrist. He’s about six feet tall and 170 pounds. He is believed to have friends in Arlington and Grand Prairie.
Huffer may be charged with escape, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and family violence assault, Williams said. Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477 is offering a reward for any information that may lead to Huffer’s arrest.