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Authorities catch third escaped Kansas inmate

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Friday, May 10, 2013, at 11:42 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, May 11, 2013, at 1:52 p.m.

Authorities on Friday arrested two prison escapees who barricaded themselves inside a home near Smithville Lake after they allegedly fired at Platte County officers.

They were two of three minimum-security inmates who walked away earlier in the day from the Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas. The third inmate was arrested without incident shortly after 10 p.m. just outside of Topeka.

The inmates captured in Missouri were identified as Allen M. Hurst, 31, and Scott A. Gilbert, 49. They walked out of the Clinton County residence about 5 p.m. Friday. No one was injured.

They had earlier spoken to negotiators with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office. Tactical response officers from the sheriff’s office and the Missouri Highway Patrol were among law enforcement officers who surrounded the residence, which is close to the Platte County line.

There were an unknown number of firearms inside the home, said Capt. Erik Holland, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

The three inmates, who were serving time for burglary or theft, apparently walked away sometime after 4 a.m., and their disappearance was discovered about 7 a.m. Friday, said Jeremy Barclay, communications director for the Kansas Department of Corrections. Authorities sounded the alarm at the prison about 7:40 a.m.

The situation that led to the standoff began developing just after 10 a.m.

Platte County officers began pursuing a vehicle, which had been reported stolen in Kansas, north on Interstate 29 near Platte City, Holland said. Occupants in the vehicle fired shots at the deputies, who did not return fire, Holland said. They drove through some fields during the pursuit.

The suspects sought refuge in a house that they chose at random in the 9000 block of Route Z after their vehicle got stuck on a retaining wall. They broke out a patio door window to get inside the house. No one was in the residence or in the neighboring houses, Holland said.

Authorities surrounded the house in the morning and made first contact with the escapees in midafternoon.

Former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, who owns a farm near the center of the standoff, caught a glimpse of the chase.

Graves said he was at work Friday morning in his home office on Route E, several miles east of I-29.

“I was sitting there looking at the road, and seven deputies passed with their lights on,” Graves said. “They weren’t going that fast, but I heard a shot. It had a metallic clang.

“I am the Forrest Gump of law enforcement.”

The third missing inmate, Randy A. Ridens Sr., 57, was taken into custody late Friday, Barclay said.

Ridens has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for burglary and theft dating to 1989 in Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami, Leavenworth, Montgomery, Douglas and Shawnee counties, according to Kansas corrections records. He also served time for sodomy with a child less than 16 years of age and indecent fondling with a child less than 14 from a Wyandotte County conviction in 1995.

Gilbert has a similarly extensive burglary and theft record, serving time for convictions dating to 1998 in Reno, Sedgwick, Saline, Geary and Cowley counties, records showed.

Hurst has served time since 2010 for burglary and theft charges filed in Sedgwick County. He also was convicted in 2010 of fleeing from police.

To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send email to mmorris@kcstar.com. To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com.

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