A man authorities call "desperate" is on the loose tonight. 29-year-old Jason Heasley, originally from Miller, escaped from the Beadle County jail in Huron yesterday afternoon. Heasley is wanted in two states for numerous theft and drug charges. He was arrested last week after leading law enforcement on a chase through corn fields, until he and his eight month pregnant girlfriend were caught in Hand County.
Heasley landed in an area he knew well. Last summer he was an inmate at the Redfield Corrections facility and was brought to Huron to work at the state fairgrounds. Heasley knew the building layout and where equipment would be stored. It was that knowledge of the town that was key to his escape.
This was the walk that Jason Heasley took yesterday afternoon as he and other prisoners were led to the recreational facility at the Beadle County Jail. Other inmates knew what was about to happen.
Jim Sheridan, Beadle County Chief Deputy, says, "Apparently he had made some statement upstairs that he was going to go or try to get out of here, and by the time the jailor got out into the rec yard he was already over the fence and gone."
He then ran three blocks to this ally where authorities say he stole a car. Sara Brooks was in her house when her boyfriend's car was stolen.
Brooks says, "I heard a car start up out here and I figured it was just one of the neighbors but at the same time the phone was ringing and I got an uncle a half a block down the road here that, and he talked to the sheriff cause they were looking through the neighborhood for the guy and then we came out here cause we were going to get something to eat and there was no car there."
The car wasn't in good shape with a flat tire, broken windshield and expired license plates.
Leif Myler, owner of the stolen car, says, "I followed the tracks from the flat tire down to the alley here for about two blocks and then lost it when he turned on to the asphalt."
Heasley then drove Mylers car to the state fairgrounds, hid the vehicle in this dairy barn garage, then took a state owned pickup truck.
He hasn't been seen since. Authorities feel Heasley could be dangerous.
Sheridan says, "He doesn't have any history of violence that we're aware of, but he's looking at a lot of time in prison, a lot of charges in different jurisdictions, not only in South Dakota but Iowa, so he's gonna run as long as he can get away.
Heasley apparently ditched his prisoner outfit for some clothes he found in Myler's car. Heasley's girlfriend, who is eight months pregnant, is being held in the Beadle County Jail. At the time of their arrest, both tested positive for using meth.
Heasley is believed to be driving a 1990 gray Dodge Pickup with state-owned license plates, number CN007.