Christian County deputies helped catch an escaped jail inmate who had been on the run for about a week.
Milton W. Sparks Jr., 35, escaped from the Cedar County Jail sometime very early in the morning on Oct. 4. On Oct. 12, a Republic police officer spotted Sparks driving in a stolen pickup truck with a female passenger and attempted to make a traffic stop. That’s when Sparks led police on a chase through three different counties that played out on a Friday night episode of the Emmy Award-winning A&E show “Live PD.”
The pursuit carried out south from Republic into Christian County and through Clever, down into Stone County through Hurley, back north from Hurley into Billings and then east on Zoller Road. The chase ended near the intersection of Zoller Road and Coyote Ridge Drive.
Sparks was allegedly driving the truck on flat tires at just 20 mph when a Christian County deputy performed a pursuit intervention technique maneuver, or “PIT maneuver,” to disable the fleeing pickup truck. Sparks and his female passenger were arrested.
Christian County deputies, Greene County deputies, Stone County deputies, Republic police and troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol all had cars lined up on Zoller Road with lights and sirens flashing while Sparks was arrested.
Sparks was changed Oct. 13, in Christian County with felony tampering with a motor vehicle and felony resisting arrest by fleeing, creating a substantial risk of serious injury or death to any person. He is being held in the Christian County Jail in Ozark on a $250,000 cash only bond.
Sparks is charged in Cedar County for escaping from custody while under arrest for a felony, a Class E felony.
In a Facebook post at 3:22 p.m. Oct. 5, the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office said Sparks escaped “due to a design issue which was never corrected after it was pointed out to contractors and commissioners in 2013.”
Cedar County authorities explained that Sparks escaped while the staff of the jail assisted another law enforcement agency that was in the process of transporting more than one other inmate to and from the Cedar County Jail. With the help of three other inmates, Sparks accessed the ceiling and climbed over the top of a pod of jail cells. He then gained access to a rear door of the jail that does not lock from the inside because of fire codes. He opened the door and left the jail.
Cedar County deputies reportedly discovered Sparks was missing at 4 p.m. on Oct. 4.
“Once again, this flaw was not something one would think of being an issue. However, we have learned different, and are taking means to correct this issue as well as seeking charges against the three other inmates involved in helping with his escape.”
Sparks has a long criminal history dating back to 1997, according to public records. His most recent charge was for stealing a motor vehicle, a class D felony. He was arrested Nov. 26, 2017, by the Aurora Police Department, and is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19, in the Lawrence County courthouse in Mt. Vernon.
Sparks was being held in the Cedar County Jail to alleviate overcrowding in the Lawrence County Jail.
The Cedar County Republican contributed to this report.