published Monday, January 7th, 2013

Reward out for handcuffed man who stole Cleveland police car

Police in Cleveland, Tenn., are offering a reward to anyone helping find a man who stole a police car Saturday night with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Charles James Masengale, 29, escaped a pursuit by other Cleveland officers and crashed the stolen cruiser on Harrison Road about half a mile inside Hamilton County, then escaped into the woods, according to a news release. The police cruiser was recovered and is currently in a city-owned impound lot.

Police spokeswoman Evie West said the event started about 9:15 p.m. when a Cleveland officer tried to make a traffic stop on Guthrie Drive. The driver refused to stop, but crashed his vehicle about a half-mile farther on at Georgetown Road and Westside Drive.

The officer, whose name was not released, got Masengale out, cuffed his hands behind him and placed him in the back seat of the cruiser, West said. The officer saw methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the car.

While the officer was speaking to a witness, Masengale was able to move his cuffed arms to the front of his body, West said. He then opened the Plexiglass divider, moved to the front seat and drove away.

The stranded officer called dispatch and other police chased the stolen cruiser west on Harrison Pike until the driver crashed the car and escaped. A woman passenger, 20-year-old Amber Millaway, was taken by ambulance to SkyRidge Medical Center in Cleveland, according to the release.

Masengale is still at large, West said Sunday evening.

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