An inmate who escaped from the Garland County jail made his way through a service window in a booking area while another inmate distracted officers, authorities said Monday.
The Garland County sheriff's office says Derrick Estell, 33, is still on the loose after the escape Sunday afternoon, which officials labeled an "elaborate plan."
According to new information released Monday, Estell was on a phone in the booking area near the 1-foot-by 2-1/2-foot window used for visitation when inmate William Harding asked questions that drew two deputies to the opposite side of the room.
"Once the deputies were away from the window, Estell jumped the counter and slid out the window, with one of our deputies immediately following him through," Lt. James Martin said in a statement, noting that only two deputies were on duty.
Estell made it outside into the parking lot and then into a nearby alleyway where a woman identified as Tamara Upshaw was waiting in a vehicle owned by Harding, Martin wrote. Estell got in and the car drove off as the pursuing deputy tried to break out the passenger window. The deputy suffered a minor injury on his hands.
The vehicle was found abandoned on Greenwood Avenue a short time later.
Harding remains in custody and will be charged with assisting in or furnishing an implement for escape, Martin wrote. Upshaw is wanted on the same charge. And Estell, who had more than two dozen charges pending against him before his breakout, is considered armed, dangerous and "extremely aggressive."
"Investigators have reason to believe that others are involved in the planned escape and are working to confirm the information received and issue warrants for their arrest," Martin wrote. "At this time, those names are being withheld, but could include family members, friends and other inmates of the both the Garland County Detention Center and Arkansas Department of Corrections."
Martin said investigators continue to pursue dozens of leads received in the case.