KALKASKA (WWJ/AP) – It sounds like something out of an old Western, but authorities say it was no stunt when a man crashed a vehicle into a northern Michigan jail in an attempt to free a female inmate.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle and MLive.com report 45-year-old Derek G. Lavis is charged with attempted aiding of a prisoner escape and malicious destruction of a building.
Kalkaska County corrections officers reported a loud banging on the north wall of the jail around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, and a deputy saw a Chevy Suburban ramming into the jail’s outer walls.
Tire tracks and broken glass outside the jail’s outer wall were visible Monday morning, as well as a large dent and a cracked window.
The vehicle took off and investigators said they later arrested Lavis about 9 a.m. Monday in a wooded area in Oliver Township, about 12 miles south of the jail.
The relationship between the inmate and the suspect was not immediately known.
A corrections officials said the inmate could face charges as well if it’s determined she knew in advance about the jailbreak attempt — but, so far, she had denied any knowledge of it.
Lavis, who was arraigned Monday afternoon, is being held on $1 million bond. He is due back in court late this month.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment Tuesday with his court-appointed defense lawyer Thomas Seger.
Kalkaska County has seen previous jailbreak attempts before, but Sheriff David Israel said this was the first in which a vehicle was used.
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