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‘Gutsy’ Woman Safe After Hostage Ordeal; 1 Fugitive Killed, Other Captured

August 9, 1987

OSCEOLA, Ark. (AP) _ Two escapees from a Mississippi jail took a woman hostage in her car Saturday and led police on a three-state chase until a shootout left one dead and another wounded.

The woman, Frances Rowan, 52, of Senatobia, Miss., grabbed the steering wheel of her commandeered car in a successful attempt to alert others to her plight and was later rescued unharmed, said Arkansas State Police.

″She’s one gutsy woman,″ said Tom Ross, who alerted authorities after he saw Mrs. Rowan’s car swerve and saw a woman struggling with two men inside.

The dead man was David Lynn Bainer, 30, said Mississippi Highway Patrol spokeswoman Shirley Rutland. He had been held in the Tate County Jail in Senatobia, near the Tennessee border, on rape and kidnapping charges, authorities in Mississippi said.

Bonnie Simpson, a dispatcher for the Tate County sheriff’s department, said Bainer and his cellmate, Christopher James Carbin, 24, in jail on armed robbery charges, escaped shortly before 9 a.m.

Shots were fired during the escape, but no one was injured, said Mississippi Highway Patrol dispatcher Danny Beavers.

Mrs. Rowan told police that the two men jumped into either side of her car’s front seat as she stopped to make a turn and displayed two guns and a knife. She said she spotted Ross, who is her husband’s boss, approaching in his car, and grabbed the steering wheel in an attempt to run her car into his.

The cars did not collide, but Ross recognized the swerving car as a demonstrator model at his dealership that he was letting the Rowans use. He told Mrs. Rowan’s husband, Bill, and also notified police.

″She was really fighting them all the way down the street. I believe she just must have been frantic. ...,″ Ross said. ″She was waving her arms to get attention.″

″I knew something was bad wrong,″ he said. ″It frightened me.″

The escapees headed north to the Memphis, Tenn., area, where they crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas, Mrs. Rowan told police later.

Arkansas police, notified of the car’s description, traded shots with the escapees about 11:30 a.m. at a roadblock on Interstate 55 in Mississippi County, Ark., north of Osceola, said Larry Patton, dispatcher for the Arkansas State Police at Jonesboro.

The escapees ran the roadblock, turned back south and left the interstate at the Osceola exit, Patton said.

As police gave chase, Bainer drove the car through a ditch, across a yard and careened into the carport of a house, where the men got out and Bainer began kicking a door, Mrs. Rowan told police.

″He was attempting to get into the house,″ said Mississippi County Sheriff Howard Carney.

″We were right behind him and stopped about the same time he did,″ Carney said. ″They got out of the car. There were shots fired from the carport. We saw the two suspects and returned fire. The hostage was in the back seat.″ Carney added that his patrol car and a state police car were hit by gunfire.

Bainer was shot to death, and Carbin, wounded in the hand and thigh, ran into a bean field behind the house and was arrested there, Carney said.

Carbin was taken to a hospital at Osceola, said Ms. Rutland.

Ross said Mrs. Rowan was back home ″and she’s resting well. It’s been a hard day, the whole mess.″

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