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Stupid Case File for November 24, 2005

Man Leads Police on Slow Lawnmower Chase

Courtesy of Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Bad idea: fleeing from police in a stolen car. Terrible idea: fleeing in a stolen lawnmower. But that's what police say a "happy drunk" did, a decision that landed the suspect back in prison for violating his parole.

Police say they got a tip about a stolen riding lawnmower. When they investigated, they spotted a man driving across a cornfield near Springfield.

"I happened to be driving south when the call went out, and lo and behold, off to the west there was this man bouncing through the cornfield with his ponytail flopping in the breeze," said Kurt Taraba, a police officer in the suburb of Southern View.

Sangamon County Sheriff's Deputy Jim Tapscott said authorities set up a perimeter while he and another deputy drove into the field to talk to the lawnmower driver. They identified themselves and told him to stop, but he allegedly tried to drive off.

"I thought, 'You're on a riding mower, and we're in a car,'" Tapscott said with a laugh. "He was only going four or five miles per hour, so I got out and jogged alongside him."

The driver finally stopped when police threatened to stun him with a Taser.

Police arrested Charles H. Carter, 45, and returned him to the Illinois Department of Corrections. Carter was wearing an ankle monitor because he'd been on home confinement.

The Prisoner Review Board will decide whether he goes back on parole or remains in prison to serve the rest of his two-year sentence for theft.

Deputies have been unable to determine who owns the Craftsman mower. They said Carter had a handwritten bill of sale for it, but was unable to tell them where it was purchased or provide any other details.


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