SC Prison Escapee Speaks - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/28/07

SC Prison Escapee Speaks

Christopher Gay found himself in the back seat of a Daytona Beach Police car after officers spotted him driving Crystal Gale's tour bus. Christopher Gay found himself in the back seat of a Daytona Beach Police car after officers spotted him driving Crystal Gale's tour bus.

After nearly a week on the run, Christopher Gay is behind bars in Volusia County, Florida. Officers arrested him late Friday night in Daytona Beach where he was watching a race at the Daytona International Speedway. Gay escaped from a prison transport van last Sunday in Hardeeville, South Carolina. He eluded police in South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia before he was finally caught with a country music star's tour bus in Florida.

"Do you know whose bus that is?" a central Florida reporter asked Gay while he was sitting in the back of a Daytona Beach Police car.

"Now, I do," he said.

Police finally caught up with Christopher Gay at the Daytona International Speedway where he was watching a race. They say he stole country music singer Crystal Gale's tour bus, driving it all the way from Tennessee to Lakeland, Florida where he told workers at the USA International Speedway he was driving it for race car driver Tony Stewart. Gay said that's what he was hired to do.

"I was paid to drive it up here for someone," he said. "That's what I do. I do jobs for people, you know."

"He didn't act the part. He didn't look the part," explained USA International Speedway Operations Manager Barry Williams. "Inside the bus was not well kept and Tony's a real neat person. Two and two didn't make four."

When workers got suspicious, Gay left, unaware that police were on the lookout for him.

"We observed a prostitute getting out of the bus and when the officer pulled up behind him, the driver actually came out and wanted to know where the speedway was located," said Steven Beres with Daytona Beach Police, "So he didn't even know we were looking for him."

Police also suspect Gay stole a pickup truck from South Carolina, then a tractor trailer cab in Georgia that he allegedly hooked up to a Walmart trailer filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise. They think he was trying to visit his terminally ill mother in Tennessee, who lived not far from where the truck was abandoned. But Gay still isn't admitting he even escaped.

"No, I didn't escape," he said. "I got warrants out of Pell City, Alabama. That's it. I ain't escaped from nowhere."

Gay remains in the Volusia County Jail. He's charged with grand theft auto. He also has three outstanding warrants from Tennessee and three from Alabama. More charges could follow.

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