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12/15/2017

Inmate steals and wrecks police car
HAMILTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
 
Inmate steals and wrecks police car
  • Seven agencies assisted in the search

 DSCN2344.jpg

Skylar Galbraith

Article contributed by The Journal Record

 
By KALYN MOORE
Staff Writer
 
HAMILTON - A routine arrest turned not-so-routine when the offender took control of a Hamilton police officer’s car on Tuesday, Nov. 14. 
 
Skylar Galbraith, 30, Winfield, was arrested on Nov. 14 for first and fourth-degree theft of property, first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree escape, resisting arrest and an attempt to elude law enforcement. Galbraith remains in the county jail under a bond of $109,500.
 
Hamilton Police Chief Ronny Vickery told the Journal Record, “We (Hamilton Police Department) were assisting the county (Marion County Sheriff’s Department) with an arrest. The warrant was just executed and we went to pick the guy up.
 
“The officer cuffed him behind his back, placed him in the back seat of the police vehicle, and buckled him in.”
 
The chief went on to explain that after driving down the road toward the Marion County Jail in Hamilton for a few minutes, the officer noticed that Galbraith’s hands were no longer behind his back, but in front of him.
 
“The officer pulled over, re-cuffed the offender, and put him back in the back seat. When he sat down in the front again, the officer realized that the offender was dropping something out of the cracked window of the vehicle,” Vickery explained.
 
Assuming it was some sort of drugs or other contraband, the officer got out to search for the dropped item.
 
“When the officer was out of the car, Galbraith jumped through the small sliding glass window of the vehicle, and got to the driver’s seat. That’s how he gained control of the car,” Vickery said.
 
The offender drove two to three miles before wrecking the police vehicle into a tree on Kelley Lane in Hamilton. At that time, Galbraith took off on foot towards the Steele Street area. 
 
“Because today happens to be a court day, 10-15 local officers from different agencies were here testifying at our courthouse. Those officers helped us with the search,” Vickery said.
 
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Guin Police Department, Winfield Police Department, Brilliant Police Department, Hackleburg Police Department and Alabama State Troopers assisted Hamilton in the search for the offender.
 
“He was eventually found in a storm cellar near the Steele Street subdivision,” Vickery said. 
 
The chief mentioned that Galbraith was found with the help of citizens calling and reporting seeing him as he traveled through back yards and private property.
 
Vickery also mentioned that Galbraith was taken to North Mississippi Medical Center-Hamilton to be checked out before being transported to the county jail.
 
Hamilton’s elementary, middle and high schools were all put on a precautionary lock-down during the search for Galbraith, which was lifted as soon as the perpetrator was found.
 
The vehicle wrecked by the offender had actually just been returned to the police department from being repaired. The 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe was previously damaged in a wreck on Friday, Sept. 15, on Military Street South in front of First National Bank and Hamilton High School. 
 
“In my 37 years of law enforcement, I have only had something like this happen one time before,” Vickery said. “You hear about it other places, but things like that don’t happen much around here.”
 
(When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)
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