SC Escapee Captured in Florida - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/27/07

SC Escapee Captured in Florida

Christopher Gay was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida. Christopher Gay was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida.

A fugitive who escaped from a prison transport van in Hardeeville, South Carolina was captured Saturday by Daytona Beach, Florida police. Christopher Gay had been on the run since Sunday, most recently driving a 45 foot long bus. If that wasn't strange enough, the bus was stolen from a country music star, Crystal Gayle.

Surveillance video from the USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida caught Christopher Gay in the act. He told security the bus he was driving is for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. They believed his story for awhile.

"He didn't seem intelligent enough to be Tony's driver," admitted Barry Williams with USA International Speedway. "He didn't look the part and he didn't act the part."

Gay escaped from a prisoner transport van in Hardeeville, South Carolina last week. Since then he stole a truck in South Carolina, an 18 wheeler in Manchester, Tennessee and a tour bus in Nashville; however, it was not Tony Stewart's bus, it belonged to country singer Crystal Gayle.

"We got the call: "Is your bus in Florida?" said Gayle. "Well, I'm not in Florida, so probably not."

The singer said she was not too worried about the bus itself, just embarrassed about what Gay might see.

"I'm thinking back because there were personal things definitely," she said. "It is our bus. We live in it on the road."

The bus was on the road with a criminal behind the wheel, but when she heard Gay's story, that he may be stealing rides to get back to see his sick mother, she wasn't mad, but sad.

"Being a mother myself," said Gayle, "I don't want my children in jail. I wish he would just give himself up, do his time and go out in the world as we all do. Be honest and open."

When it comes to this suspect, police aren't as forgiving.

"We put out a Nationwide BOLO for him," said Jack Gillen with Lakeland Police before Gay's arrest. "Hopefully someone on the highway will see him, run his tag and do a traffic stop."

"I'm not going to let it bother me," said Gayle. "I hope we get it back and it still runs. Maybe he'll be a bus driver someday. We always need those."

When he escaped, Christopher Gay was on his way from Texas to Alabama to face charges that he stole a travel trailer. He's now facing additional charges.

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