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Killer Escapes; Guard has Heart Attack; Deputy Wrecks Car, Kills 3

May 7, 1993

ZACHARY, La. (AP) _ A convicted killer yanked an intravenous tube out of his arm, sprayed a cleaning chemical into a guard’s face, then jumped to freedom from a second- story hospital window.

The guard then had a heart attack. And an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who had been called into work because of the escape lost control of his squad car as he raced to the scene and slammed head-on into another car, killing himself, and a man and child in the other vehicle, police said.

About 30 officers from nearby police and sheriff’s departments as well as guards with bloodhounds from Dixon Correctional Institute searched for 30- year-old Velasquez Perez on Thursday, said Glenn Spillman, assistant chief of the Zachary Police Department.

The incident began when guards moved Perez, who was being held after his conviction on second-degree murder and aggravated assault, from the East Feliciana Parish Prison to Lane Memorial Hospital to be treated for ulcers.

The guard, identified by the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s office as Deputy Charles Hartman, 57, suffered a heart attack. He was in the intensive care ward at a Baton Rouge hospital Thursday, but in stable condition, Spillman said.

Deputy Leon Armstead was off-duty, but was called for help, said an East Feliciana Parish dispatcher who refused to give her name.

En route to Zachary, he ran into another car near the town of Ethyl. The crash killed Lynn Nevels and his 6-year-old son, Christopher, as well as Armstead, the sheriff’s office said.

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