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Youngstown man who escaped from cruiser gets 18 months in prison

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Staff report

WARREN

Garrell T. Williams, 24, of Brooklyn Avenue, Youngstown, made like legendary escape artist Harry Houdini on Jan. 4, when he got out of handcuffs and let himself out of a Liberty police cruiser.

But the five-day escape from justice probably cost him some extra prison time, as a judge in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentenced him to 18 months behind bars Wednesday.

Williams pleaded guilty before Judge W. Wyatt McKay to all the offenses he committed that night – being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, cocaine possession and escaping from police.

Williams was placed in a Liberty cruiser during the 4:08 a.m. traffic stop while officers searched his car.

He was placed in handcuffs and left alone in the cruiser, but he got one hand out of the handcuffs and reached through an open window to open the door from the outside and fled.

The incident led to some schooling for the three township police officers involved in the arrest, Liberty Police Chief Rich Tisone said.

The dash-cam video from the cruiser, which showed the entire episode, provided a full explanation of what went wrong.

Williams was pulled over after officers observed him and a female in a car in a parking lot on Gypsy Lane with no license plate light and the plate sticker covered up by a license-plate cover.

Police later found a loaded gun in the car, learned that Williams had no concealed-carry permit and was a felon. They also found a bag of cocaine in the car.

Williams was arrested five days later during a traffic stop in the parking lot of the Boardman Walmart. Williams spent five months in prison in 2016 on a heroin-possession conviction out of Mahoning County.