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News >  Idaho

Police on statewide alert after suspect escapes jail

Associated Press

BOISE – Police were on statewide alert Sunday as they searched for a man they say broke out of the Ada County Jail, where he was awaiting trial for shooting at a police officer and assault on several others.

It is the second time in four months police have thrown out a dragnet for Harlan James Hale, 39, who escaped Saturday and hijacked a car from a nearby parking garage.

The car was found Sunday near Morris Hill in Boise, Ada County sheriff’s spokeswoman Betina Yore told the Associated Press. “Now we’re just processing it for any evidence that may be on it,” she said.

Police suspect he may be with Tracey Lee Gonzales, 36, of Boise. “She’s a close personal contact … so she’s a person of interest that we’re trying to contact,” Yore said.

A $5,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to Hale’s arrest.

Hale was in jail awaiting trial Sept. 28. He’s charged with first-degree attempted murder of an officer, eluding police, three counts of assault and battery of a police officer, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and receiving stolen property.

The attempted murder and assault charges stem from a Feb. 28 traffic stop. Court documents said he was sitting in the rear seat of a car when he opened fire on the two officers who were making the stop.

Hale got away, but officers found him nine days later in Garden City, where police say he tried to run down an officer in an attempt to flee.

Police fired at least 22 shots at Hale, who had two handguns with him when he was finally arrested. Hale was not injured, but Boise and Garden City police departments later said they would pay nearly $7,000 to repair bullet holes in homes that were hit during the wild confrontation.

Hales escaped from the Ada County Jail about noon on Saturday while being transferred from his solitary jail cell to another area of the jail, Yore said.

Hale ran to an adjacent parking lot used by Intermountain Hospital, where he pulled a woman out of her gold 2002 Honda Civic and drove off. The woman was not seriously injured.

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