Driver tells police: 'I'd rather be dead than go to jail'

2012-01-17T14:30:00Z 2012-01-18T15:55:39Z Driver tells police: 'I'd rather be dead than go to jail'By Jeff Burton jeff.burton@nwi.com, (219) 548-4354 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The man accused of taking a Kouts police cruiser wasn't about to go to jail.

In recordings of radio transmission between the man police identified as William Blankenship, 22, of Knox, and Porter County sheriff's police released Tuesday, Blankenship was adamant about not being away from his family after a drug-related stop in Kouts last week.

In the nearly 15 minutes of recordings, Porter County Officer Roger Bowles can be heard trying to negotiate a surrender while Blankenship was driving the stolen Kouts Police Department vehicle.

"Yeah, I'm going to have to say negative on that one. I got a little boy at home," Blankenship can be heard saying. "I ain't going to jail for some (expletive) that ain't mine."

Bowles then began asking Blankenship about his son, who was born just a month before the incident.

"We want to make sure you see him again," Bowles said. "That's the reason you need to stop this thing, OK. Don't let this thing get escalated no more. We can help you out. You've got to stop it now, though."

Blankenship reportedly kept going, his location unknown to officers.

"I ain't going to hurt no one else, man. Going to hurt my damn self, but I ain't gong to jail for 10 (expletive) years. For some (expletive) that ain't mine? Ain't never going to see my son again. My wife's going to leave me," he said. "I'd rather just run. This thing's got a whole tank of gas in it."

At one point in the conversation, Blankenship can be heard asking for the location of a spare set of handcuff keys so he can better steer the stolen cruiser and a cigarette lighter, so he could smoke.

"I can think better if I got a smoke, man," he said.

After being told neither was in the car, Blankenship stopped responding to the officer.

"One way or the other, I'm going to jail, and I ain't going to have that, and I ain't going to run forever, either. So, don't worry, I'm not going to hurt anybody else. I ain't going to hurt one of you guys. But, I'm not going to jail," he said. "I'd rather be dead than go to jail."

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