Miss. fugitive caught in Utah

Published 8:52 am Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CRYSTAL SPRINGS (AP) — The charges are piling up against Sydney Benner, who was arrested in Utah after fleeing a Mississippi jail on Oct. 4.

Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones said Tuesday that Benner, 30, scaled a fence outside the Copiah County jail’s exercise yard on Oct. 4 and evaded a manhunt that lasted several days.

Jones said Benner was arrested Monday by the Emery County Sheriff’s Department after trying to elude deputies in a chase through rural roads in Ferron, Utah.

Email newsletter signup

Benner has been charged in Emery County with felony evading, possession of a stolen vehicle, three counts of attempted auto theft, three counts of auto burglary, two counts of credit-card fraud, theft of a vehicle and possession of an instrument for burglary.

Mississippi corrections officials said Benner already was facing four felony and eight misdemeanor charges from a previous escape. Benner also faces two counts of receiving stolen property in Florida.

‘‘I was concerned he might have still been in the area at one time,’’ Jones said. ‘‘But he’s just a car thief. We hadn’t had any cars stolen. So, I knew he wasn’t here.’’

Benner may face charges in Colorado, Jones said.

Benner likely would have gone unnoticed had he not allegedly tried to buy gas with a stolen credit card, said Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon.

‘‘The person who runs the service station is a member of our search-and-rescue group that works with the sheriff’s office,’’ Guymon said. ‘‘He alerted us and observed the vehicle until deputies were able to pursue.’’

When Benner noticed deputies were on his trail, he tried to outrun them, eventually losing control of the car on a dirt road.

‘‘He hit a wire fence and then exited the vehicle and attempted to elude the deputies on foot,’’ Guymon said.

Jones said Copiah County plans to extradite Benner once he has been processed through judicial systems in Utah.

‘‘I’ve got a hold on him,’’ Jones said. ‘‘It may take a little while, but he’s coming back.’’

Benner led officers from several agencies on a 30-hour manhunt near Martinsville in August when he was a fugitive from Florida. The chase began when a Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol officer spotted him on Interstate 55.

Benner was caught in Copiah County when he walked onto a road and tried to flag down a passing truck.