PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Surf City Police say they now know how a man in their custody got away at the county jail early Thursday morning. That suspect spoke only with WWAY about how it all happened.
Surf Police Police Department arrested Christopher Scott Tew-Creech on drug warrants from Onslow County. An officer took Tew-Creech to the Pender County Jail in Burgaw to see a magistrate.
“I wanted to go home,” he said. “I wanted to see my family one more time, because I feel like I’m gonna have to be in here for awhile, and it sucks.”
While sitting in the jail lobby waiting to be booked, Tew-Creech knew he had one chance.
“I realized that the cuff wasn’t on very tight and I could easily just take my hand right out of it,” he said. “So I did that, and I sat there for a minute and contemplated it, and I was kinda like, ‘I really shouldn’t do this right now, but when am I gonna have another chance?'”
Tew-Creech had one hand cuffed to his chair and one hand free. The magistrate and Surf City Corporal Eric Peterson stood less than 30 feet away in this office.
“I stood up slowly and just started to walk towards the door and then just bolted,” he said.
In the blink of an eye, Tew-Creech was gone and able to outrun officers searching for him for several hours.
He was eventually located near the 4000-block of Stag Park Road.
“They picked me up and slammed me on the ground they’re like, ‘Welcome to Pender County,'” Tew Creech said.
In a statement, Surf City Police Chief Ron Shanahan said, “after reviewing yesterday’s incident, we have found that our arresting officer failed to follow proper confinement procedures during this arrest while at the Pender County Magistrate’s Office.”
Jail Commander Captain Samenthia Jones tell us all suspects are brought in through and held in the secured area to be processed and booked into Pender County Jail.
Instead, Tew-Creech wound up in the unsecured lobby and a chance to go free.
“I didn’t stop running until I couldn’t run anymore,” he said.
Chief Shanahan says they take this matter seriously and there is an active internal investigation.
He also says there has been no disciplinary action for Cpl. Peterson at this time.
WWAY tried for a second day to talk with Sheriff Carson Smith about what happened at his jail. Again, he did not return our call.
His charges include resisting, obstruct and delay of officer, driving while license revoked, possession drug paraphernalia and possession of heroin.
His bond is currently $165,200.