State Patrol: Size is a factor in how handcuffed suspect escaped

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- The Wisconsin State Patrol says size was a contributing factor in how a handcuffed suspect escaped in a squad car on Sunday.

Photo from Eau Claire County jail

Eau Claire police took Joshua Robertson, 25, into custody Tuesday afternoon after a two-day search.

The state patrol says Robertson and a female passenger were pulled over for excessive speeding and tinted windows when a K-9 on scene detected drugs.

A search led to the discovery of 2 pounds and $40,000 of crystal meth so Lt. Les Mlsna says both were taken into custody.

“There were two people, a male and a female, in this vehicle at the time,” he said. “The female was handcuffed and put into one squad and then Joshua Robertson was handcuffed and put in another squad on the scene.”

Troopers said because Robertson is a bigger guy he needed two pairs of handcuffs to secure them behind his back.

Mlsna explained, “Usually when we get larger people in one set of handcuffs they're not physically able to put their hands behind their back. So, we used two pairs of handcuffs and that actually gave him enough room where he was able to get his hands around his butt, around his legs, and then get the handcuffs in front of him.”

Normally the state patrol says when a suspect is in the back seat the window locks are engaged however Mlsna said that wasn't the case in Robertson’s instance. That allowed Robertson to roll down the window, open the door from the outside, and hop into the driver's seat.

Mlsna said Robertson drove “about 8 miles and we didn't have anyone actively pursuing him at the time just because it took a while for us to realize he was driving off. “

With tracking equipment the empty squad was found later Sunday afternoon.

Robertson wasn't taken into custody until around 3:30p.m. Tuesday when Eau Claire police received a tip he was at an apartment near Meridian Heights Drive.

He was no longer wearing handcuffs, but it's unclear how he got them off.

The state patrol is not releasing the video of Robertson’s escape until the District Attorney's Office files formal charges.

The department does say there is no specific directive to have window or child locks activated.

However troopers say this incident will serve as a reminder to always check when a suspect is in a squad car.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- A suspect who escaped from deputies is now in custody after a 2-day search.

The Eau Claire Police Department has confirmed 25-year-old Joshua Robertson was arrested Tuesday night without incident.

The Wisconsin State Patrol first pulled Robertson over Sunday afternoon in Eau Claire for speeding. A K-9 searched the vehicle and found $40,000 worth of crystal meth.

Robertson was handcuffed and placed in the back of the State Patrol vehicle. During the search, troopers say Robertson was able to escape from the back of the cruiser. He then got into the driver side door and left the scene. The cruiser was recovered in Eau Claire about eight miles from the original stop.

Robertson is being held in the Eau Claire County jail.

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