When a prisoner escaped from a downtown Detroit courthouse Monday morning, he allegedly stabbed a deputy with a plastic comb that had been sharpened to a point. He then took off wearing part of a deputy's uniform, stole a minivan, crashed it, left on foot and continued to lead police on a manhunt through the city. He also gave Patricia Banford, the van's driver, a terrible fright.
"He said, 'Get out, get out or I'll kill you," Banford told WXYZ-TV. She was in her vehicle reaching for a piece of paper, parked near the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, where the prisoner escaped. Identified by authorities as 25-year-old Abraham Pearson, he has multiple aliases, including Derreck White.
Banford, a single mother of three, told WXYZ that when she got of the car, the man then asked for her keys.
"Ma'am, I don't want to have to kill you, give me your keys," she recalls him telling her. She gave him her keys and he drove away.
"I could have been dead. He just appeared out of nowhere," Banford told WJBK-TV. "He looked like he meant business. ... He was scary-looking."
Photos of suspect Abraham Pearson and the manhunt in Detroit. Story continues below.
Pearson is described as 155 pounds and 5-foot-6 with a tattoo on his left forearm that reads "Hot Boyz." He is believed to be wearing a white shirt and tan pants from the deputy's uniform.
Around 8:30 a.m. Monday, Pearson was being transported from his cell to the courtroom where he was set to be sentenced for multiple crimes including carjacking. That's when he stabbed the deputy, 63-year-old Harrison Tolliver, repeatedly in the neck and ran from the courthouse. Tolliver was treated and released from a nearby hospital and said to be in good condition.
After he stole Banford's van, he crashed it nearby and left on foot, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Detroit News reports that police conducted a grid search on the city's east side, aided by SWAT team members and Homeland Security airships.
According to the Associated Press, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said he would rather have multiple deputies escorting inmates, but the county can't afford it.
Anyone with information should contact the Wayne County Sheriff's Department at 313-224-0414.