by Max Brantley
The Garland County sheriff's office is still searching for Derrick Estell, who escaped from the jail shortly after being returned there by the state Correction Department for a court appearance. He's serving time on a long list of burglary, theft and drug charges.
The sheriff's office provided video clips of portions of the escape, including.
1) when Estell slipped through a window with a deputy slithering through afterward, and
2) when Estell dashed across a parking lot to a waiting car that authorities believe was driven by Tamara Upshaw.
The sheriff's office provided this account:
After being brought back from ADC for court, Estell was on an inmate phone in the booking area, in close proximity to a 12” high by 30” wide service window that is utilized to interact with the public during visitation, the booking process and general detention business.
William Harding, who is currently in custody on First Degree Escape (charge to be amended to Assisting in or Furnishing an Implement for Escape), engaged our deputies in a conversation in relation to another inmate by asking them questions that diverted their attention and required them to go to the other side of the booking room to look up answers. Once the deputies were away from the window, Estell jumped the counter and slid out the window, with one of our deputies immediately following him through. This was during inmate visitation and there were only 2 deputies in the booking room at the time.
Estell fled through our parking lot, with our deputy following, into the alleyway between the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Senior Care Center on Woodbine. Tamara Upshaw (who now has a warrant out for her arrest for Assisting in or Furnishing an Implement for Escape) was waiting in the alleyway, in a vehicle owned by Harding, with the passenger door open. Estell was able to close the door and Upshaw began driving away as our deputy attempted to bust out the passenger window, causing slight injury to his hands, and gain access to Estell. The vehicle was located abandoned a few minutes later on Greenwood Avenue by the Hot Springs Police Department. At this time we have no other vehicle information to put out.
Investigators have reason to believe that others are involved in the planned escape and are working to confirm the information received and issue warrants for their arrest. At this time, those names are being withheld, but could include family members, friends and other inmates of the both the Garland County Detention Center and Arkansas Department of Corrections.