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Murder suspects escape jail, carjack vehicle and crash in St. Louis County

Murder suspects escape jail, carjack vehicle and crash in St. Louis County

Lincoln Co Inmates crash after chase

Two federal inmates escaped from the Lincoln County Jail and carjacked a man in Troy on Monday. Police began a chase and the inmates eventually crashed after hitting a median and flipping the car near Interstate 70 and Hanley Road in St. Louis County. Photo courtesy of Troy, Mo., police.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. with more detail about the suspects.

LINCOLN COUNTY — Two murder suspects — including one who escaped a St. Louis jail in 2010 — used a makeshift saw to break out of the Lincoln County Jail on Monday before stealing a car and leading a police chase that ended in a crash in St. Louis County, police say.

Kurt Wallace

Kurt Wallace, of St. Louis, was among three people indicted in a string of carjackings, including one that left a De Smet High School assistant football coach dead. In July 2019, police said he was one of two men who escaped from jail in Lincoln County.

James Flannel

James Flannel was charged in the death of a Laclede Cab driver killed in St. Louis. This photo is from a previous assault case, for which he served a decade in Missouri prison. In July 2019, police said he was one of two men who escaped from jail in Lincoln County. He pleaded guilty in the carjacking case in August 2019.

Kurt Wallace, 26, and James Flannel, 38, used broken parts of an electric hair clipper to make the improvised saw they used to weaken and rip off a metal bar in their cell and escape about 8:10 p.m., according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Wallace is accused of killing De Smet Jesuit High School assistant football coach Jaz Granderson during an October 2017 carjacking attempt, along with other carjacking charges. When he was 17, he was one of two teens who escaped the medium-security jail known as the St. Louis Workhouse in June 2010.

Flannel is accused of killing Laclede Cab driver Boris Iouioukine during a carjacking in June 2018.

About 20 minutes after the escape on Monday, a man in a neighborhood about a mile from the jail called Troy, Missouri, police to report his vehicle had been carjacked, said Troy police Detective Tony Stewart. The 58-year-old told officers that two men approached him while he was backing out of his driveway. One of the men was bleeding profusely from his hand and wore a shirt covered in blood, the victim told police.

The escaped inmates first told the man to drive them to St. Louis. When he refused, they got into his car. The man was able to get out of the vehicle before the men drove off, and he called police, Stewart said.

Authorities tracked the stolen car using its OnStar GPS system, and St. Charles police began a pursuit around Interstate 70 and Zumbehl Road, Stewart said. The chase went into north St. Louis County reaching speeds of at least 100 mph before the suspects crashed into a median at an exit at I-70 and North Hanley Road. Police said the car went airborne and flipped over around 9 p.m.

One of the men got out of the car and began running, but was caught after a short foot chase, Stewart said. The other was taken into custody near the vehicle.

The suspects were taken to a hospital with injuries, but were conscious and talking. Investigators interviewed both men at the hospital and they admitted to escaping from the jail and carjacking the vehicle, according to Troy police.

Officials with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office did not respond Tuesday to questions about the jail break. The office issued a news release explaining that a deputy discovered that the inmates had damaged the cell bar about 20 minutes after the escape and immediately put the jail on lockdown.

The sheriff’s office will conduct an in-depth policy review of facility security, according to the statement.

The suspects faced new charges Tuesday afternoon for felony stealing connected to the carjacking in Lincoln County. Both were already facing serious federal charges connected to murder cases that made headlines around St. Louis.

In 2017, court documents allege, Wallace fired the shot that killed Granderson, 27, a De Smet football coach, while trying to steal a Jeep Grand Cherokee in St. Louis. Wallace was one of three people accused of participating in that crime along with a string of other carjackings that year. Co-defendants Jherrica Dixon and Floyd Barber both pleaded guilty this year to felony charges in connection to the crimes. Wallace’s case is pending.

The escape Monday marks the second jail break within 10 years for Wallace.

In 2010, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on assault and armed criminal action charges for shooting two men in 2008. While waiting for an appeal of the assault conviction at the Workhouse, he and another inmate, both 17 at the time, escaped in the middle of the night. The teens slipped past guards after flooding their cells by stopping up the toilets, the Post-Dispatch reported at the time.

Wallace and the other teen then climbed through a window and scaled a fence topped with razor wire. Within a day, police found the two at a vacant home and took them back into custody.

Wallace was sentenced to two years in prison for the escape in addition to the assault conviction. With more than two years of credit for time served in jail while he was awaiting trial, he was released from prison on June 2, 2017. The string of carjackings in the recent indictments began about three months later.Despite that previous escape, in a 2017 court hearing, Wallace complained that a federal prosecutor was “acting like I’m an outlaw and I’m going to run,” by asking that he be held in jail while awaiting trial, according to a 2017 story in the Post-Dispatch. Monday’s other escapee, Flannel, is also accused in a high-profile carjacking that turned deadly.

A federal indictment accused Flannel of killing cab driver Iouioukine, 66, who was found unconscious and bleeding last June in the St. Louis Place neighborhood, near where he’d been called by a potential customer, police said at the time. Iouioukine had driven for Laclede for more than 20 years after emigrating from Russia.

Flannel had a previous assault conviction in Missouri that resulted in a 10-year prison term.

This week’s jail break also marks the second escape within 10 years at the Lincoln County Jail.

In November 2010, two federal inmates housed at the jail climbed through a ceiling panel in a cellblock and eventually stole a truck from a gas station.{div class=”subscriber-only”}The inmates were recaptured within days. One, John Wesley Jones, pleaded guilty to a multimillion-dollar robbery of ATM Solutions in St. Louis. The other, Corey Durand Cross, was being held on a weapons charge and was not involved in the heist.

{/div} {div class=”subscriber-only”}After the 2010 break, Lincoln County spent $150,000 on security improvements to the jail, including installing a new camera system, replacing several rows of ceiling tile with steel and placing razor wire on the roof.

Both U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals service put a hold on housing federal inmates at the facility for most of 2011. The loss of revenue from the federal contract for that year prompted budget cuts at the sheriff’s office, the Post-Dispatch reported in 2012.


Notable crimes of 2019

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