Officer's costly blunder allows prisoner to escape patrol car

Lake Wales Police Department continues to search for a 19-year-old woman who escaped Wednesday night from a patrol car.
 
Officers arrested Chelsea Stoudemire on a misdemeanor charge of fighting in public with her cousin. It's a relatively simple charge that could have been handled in a few hours, but Stoudemire had a different idea when the officer pulled up to the police station for booking and brought her cousin in first.
 
"He rolled the window down partially to let fresh air blow into the vehicle because it wasn't running," said Deputy Chief Troy Schulze.
 
As soon as they went inside, investigators believe Stoudemire managed to free one wrist from the handcuffs, reach through the window and open the door because there's no way to open it from the inside. From there, she simply ran free.
 
"He said he was gone for just a matter of two or three minutes," Schulze said of the officer. "He came back out and saw the door was open."
 
Surveillance video only caught a brief, two second clip of Stoudemire running down the road.
 
Family members told ABC Action News she planned to turn herself in Thursday on additional, more serious charges. As of late Thursday afternoon, Stoudemire was still on the run.
 
Meanwhile, to prevent this from happening again, the Lake Wales Police Department is now reviewing all of its policies.
 
Schulze said the officer involved broke at least one.
 
"We have to have someone with a prisoner, no matter how serious or minor. Someone has to be with them in the car. We can't leave them unattended," he said.
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