Hays Police chief: Learn from mistakes of escape
By MIKE CORN
Handcuffed, a 20-year-old Hays man was placed in the back seat of a patrol cruiser after being arrested on an outstanding warrant for littering.
Somehow, the 5-foot, 4-inch, 132-pound Matthew A. Kloke was able to slip his hands free from the handcuffs early Sunday morning.
Today, he's being held in the Barton County jail, the possibility of a felony charge facing him as a result of a high-speed chase from Hoisington to Great Bend, where Kloke crashed a stolen vehicle.
In Ellis County, there's sure to be a number of charges, including escape from custody, interference with a police officer and theft of a motor vehicle.
It also was a difficult day for a Hays Police officer, whose initiative as a result of a traffic stop at 4 a.m. Sunday was marred when Kloke was able to get away and steal a car.
It was during that traffic stop of two high school girls, Hays Police Chief Don Scheibler said, when the officer learned a third high school girl had been left in a motel room with the 20-year-old Kloke.
The three girls were 15 to 17 years old, he said.
The officer, Scheibler said, took the initiative to go to the motel where the juvenile and Kloke reportedly were, to check on the girl.
It was there, Scheibler said, the officer determined Kloke was wanted on an outstanding warrant for misdemeanor littering.
Once he was placed in the back seat of the patrol car, the officer went back inside to check on the girl.
When the officer returned to his car, Kloke was gone.
While the doors on the patrol car can't be opened from inside, Scheibler said the window lock wasn't engaged and Kloke apparently was able to roll down the window and open the door from the outside.
"It's truly a temporary restraint," Scheibler said of the handcuffs.
HPD since has been able to recover the handcuffs and has learned Kloke told officers in Barton County he simply was able to slip out of the restraints.
"He told us he was able to slip them off," Scheibler said.
While Kloke was being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of littering, he's faced three criminal charges as a juvenile, that of criminal damage to property, obstructing legal process and disorderly conduct.
All three juvenile cases have concluded.
After escaping from police custody Sunday, Kloke was reported to be at a residence on East 12th.
He couldn't be found when police arrived, but there soon was a report of a stolen vehicle approximately nine blocks away.
That was the vehicle spotted by Hoisington police.
Scheibler spent much of Sunday ferreting out the details of what happened, and how Kloke was able to escape.
"We've completed our initial review of the incident," he said. "There were mistakes made."
A more thorough investigation will be completed.
"A complete review of the incident will be completed to make sure it doesn't happen again," Scheibler said. "We will learn from this and get better as a department.
"I'm just grateful no one got hurt."