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Thursday, July 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Police pursue leads about Spokane jail escapees

Police had received several tips about the escapees.
Police had received several tips about the escapees.
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Lewiston police relayed a tip on the whereabouts of one, and possibly two, of the inmates who escaped with guns blazing from the Spokane County Jail a few days earlier.

A Lewiston contractor who knew Sam Miller said he spotted him in Lewiston in a stolen car with another man, who they suspect was Jerome Kirk, the ringleader of the jailbreak. Lewiston authorities were unable to find the pair, but an investigation showed they stole a Ford car and then stole a license plate from a taxi.

One witness reported seeing the car heading west on the road to Walla Walla. Authorities were watching those roads.

Police also received several other tips. A farmer at Willow Springs near Cheney phoned police that “Sam Miller was eating breakfast” near his farm.

Police found a man making coffee over a campfire. He refused to give his name. So officers hauled him into headquarters and determined that he was not Sam Miller. A jailer confirmed that the man was an insanity suspect who had been in jail briefly about a year ago, but he was not one of the escapees.

Police believed they were hot on the trail of another escapee, Clarence Phillipy, because they had received credible information about his whereabouts.

From the Wobbly beat: Police believed members of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) were planning a “Workers Picnic” at Audubon Park on July 5.

“Big Bill” Haywood, a famous labor leader, was rumored be the main speaker. The plan for the picnic sounded like just about any other summer picnic, with athletic contests, speeches and a cookout.

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