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Warrick County deputies, troopers capture Day, Helsley
NEWBURGH – Two escapees from the Branchville Correctional Facility were captured Tuesday evening after they crashed a stolen car while trying to outrun state police and Warrick County sheriff’s deputies.
Conan Helsley, 20, and Kent Day, 45, had been on the run since scaling a prison fence the night of April 4. They allegedly stole a pickup truck from J.H. Rudolph & Co.’s asphalt plant near Interstate 64 and fled to western Kentucky, where Day has relatives.
At approximately 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Warrick County Sheriff’s Department received a call that Helsley was in the area of Ryan’s Hardware in Newburgh. Deputies couldn’t immediately locate him but began patrolling the area. A deputy then spotted Helsley near a payphone close to the Schnuck’s supermarket on Bell Oaks Drive.
Before the deputy could approach Helsley, he jumped into a white 1999 Pontiac and drove east on Bell Oaks Drive at a high rate of speed.
Several minutes later, Trooper Matt Lockridge observed the car traveling at nearly 100 mph. Stop sticks, strips of spikes used to deflate tires during police pursuits, were deployed at Sharon Road and Indiana 61, but Helsley was able to avoid them and continued south on Indiana 61 and then west on Indiana 66.
As the car neared Darlington Road, a deputy prepared to deploy another set of stop sticks. Helsley apparently saw the stop sticks and left the south side of the road to avoid them, striking an eastbound Ford pickup truck.
Police said the driver of the truck, William Hastie, 59, of Maceo, Ky., was not injured but both vehicles were totaled.
Officers approaching Helsley’s vehicle found Day in the vehicle. Both escapees were arrested without incident.
The collision that ended the pursuit was in front of Alcoa’s Warrick Operations.
Helsley and Day were taken to the Warrick County Jail, but would be transferred to the Indiana Department of Correction, police said.
After allegedly fleeing Perry County in the stolen truck, Helsley and Day drove to Kentucky and abandoned the vehicle on the Western Kentucky Parkway. The two allegedly stole a van in Princeton, Ky.
Police said the 1999 Pontiac Helsley was driving had been reported stolen in Corydon, Ky.
Day was serving a 60-year sentence for a 1985 murder conviction in Lake County and was scheduled for release in Indiana in 2014. However, he faced prison time in Kentucky for the 1984 rape and murder of Madisonville resident Ann Granstaff.
Day was convicted of that crime in 1992.
Helsley was serving an eight-year sentence for armed robbery in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties and was scheduled for release in 2012.