Search continues for suspect who escaped custody in Hanceville


Justin McCoy Booth / Courtesy Hanceviile Police Department and Facebook


Updated 1-23-18 5:30 p.m.

HANCEVILLE – The Hanceville Police Department is looking for Justin McCoy Booth, 23, of St. Clair County in connection with the incident that sent a police officer to UAB Hospital Monday night. Booth was in the process of being released from Hanceville, but was to be held for pickup on an outstanding warrant for burglary in St. Clair County. Booth now faces charges for escape.

Hanceville Police Chief Bob Long said last night, "He (Booth) actually was released from our facility, but he had a hold with another agency. He's been in our jail for a couple days. He saw the judge this evening and he was being released, but he had a hold with another agency. In the process of moving inmates back and forth from the courtroom into the jail facility and so forth, he was able to basically just bolt and run out the door."

A vehicle pursuit ensued, and a Hanceville police officer was severely injured in a three-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. Highway 31 and Alabama Highway 91.

The officer, identified as Jason Hare, 41, by Alabama State Troopers, remains in the intensive care unit at UAB. Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail, who accompanied the officer to the hospital Monday night, posted on social media later that evening: "Our officer will be OK few broken bones, concussion. Overnight at UAB. Thanks for all the prayers." On Tuesday, he posted the following update: "We have had a setback with our officer. Several more fractured bones including C4 he's in a lot of pain please continue your prayers will be in ICU for several more days."

Troopers said Hare was not wearing a seat belt.

The two other vehicles involved in the crash were a 2009 Freightliner, driven by Steven Harbison, 39, of Logan and a 2008 Chevrolet, driven by Peter Tarantino, 26, of Steubenville, Ohio. Harbison was not injured. Tarantino was injured and transported to an area hospital.

Long said Tuesday afternoon, “We would just encourage any friend or family member that has any contact with him (Booth) to contact law enforcement, or just persuade him to come turn himself in, so he can get this matter put behind him.”

Anyone with any information on Booth's whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Hanceville Police Department at 256-352-9811.

Booth is described as 5'6", 135 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

This is a developing story.

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