A former Hebron man escaped from the Clay County jail last week, but was caught 2 1/2 hours later at a Walmart store in Hastings.
According to the Clay County Sheriff’s office, Michael Hawkins, 19, and Dylan Landers, 18, of Sutton, ran away Wednesday, Aug. 25, from an officer who was escorting them from a recreational area back to their cells. The two jumped into a waiting white Grand Am driven by a woman from Hastings. She took them to the Country Store in Clay Center where the two hid between two ambulances parked in the lot and changed clothes. They then stole a 2003 black Honda Accord parked a couple of blocks away from the store.
Clay County Sheriff Jeff Franklin told reporters that the woman, who had a past relationship with one of the escapees, said she was under the impression the one she knew had served his jail time and was being released. She fully cooperated with authorities, the sheriff reported.
Officers from 13 different agencies tracked the escapees as they traveled by county roads to Hastings. Arresting officers confronted both the young men at the Walmart store where they used a dog to subdue Landers. Landers was bitten and had to be taken to Mary Lanning Hospital where he was treated and released. Hawkins was taken into custody without incident.
Both were arrested at 5:30 p.m. and spent the night in the Adams County Jail in Hastings before being returned to the Clay County jail.
Landers, serving a sentence for auto theft and burglary and Hawkins, serving time for violations at a McCook work farm, face multiple charges including theft, possession of stolen property, automobile theft and assaulting an officer. Charges will be filed in both Adams and Clay counties.
Hawkins was involved in a high speed chase in a stolen vehicle nearly a year ago as he ran from Nebraska State Troopers and the Omaha police on Labor Day, 2009. He and two other Hebron youth as well as two other teens were chased into a wooded area where they were apprehended and taken into custody.
According to court records was sentenced to the McCook Work Ethic Camp and two years of probation last March on a burglary conviction in Clay County. He was also sentenced in May to five years of probation for attempted burglary in Thayer County.