Texas fugitive with local ties caught in Omaha
March 16, 2011 | 09:13 AMOmaha — A former Darien man who escaped from a Texas prison was arrested Monday night at 8:45 p.m. in Nebraska.
Before the arrest, local law enforcement was keeping an eye out for David R. Puckett, 27, because of his local ties.
Puckett escaped from the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Stiles unit in Beaumont, Texas, where he was serving a 30-year sentence for aggravated assault.
Puckett lived in Darien before his 2001 arrest in the Lone Star state. He has family living in the village of Walworth and police there were also on the watch for him.
According to Texas media reports, Puckett stabbed a police officer in the neck in Lavaca County during a struggle back in 2001.
He escaped from prison at about 6:07 p.m. March 9 when he fled from a recreational yard. After he escaped, he allegedly stole a white pickup truck, which had the keys in the ignition.
Puckett was spotted at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Texas at 10:45 p.m., the night of the escape, but left after he saw security guards. He also may have attempted to seek medical attention at two other hospitals.
On Monday, Walworth County Sheriff's Department Lt. Kevin Williams explained why police were keeping an eye out for the fugitive.
"Having lived in this area, he has several connections here and there is some concern he may return to this area," Walworth County Sheriff's Lt. Kevin Williams said. "We have no specific information to confirm that."
Williams added that Puckett is "considered quite dangerous, especially toward law enforcement."
In 2001, in Walworth County, Puckett was charged with operating a vehicle without the owner's consent, first-degree reckless endangerment and battery to law enforcement.
Darien Police Chief Hunter Gilmore said the police reports state Puckett ran over an officer's ankle with his vehicle. Gilmore said the officer was attempting to serve Puckett with extraditable warrants during the incident.
The officer is no longer with the Darien Police Department and, oddly enough, is working in Texas.
Gilmore said his department is keeping a watch for Puckett in case he returns to Darien.
He also was charged with escaping from a child correctional facility in 2001 in Waukesha County. However, those charges were dismissed after he was sentenced in Texas.
Puckett is described as white male, five-feet five-inches tall, weighs about 155 pounds, has brown hair, brown eyes and a scar on his right arm.
When he escaped from the Texas prison, Puckett apparently cut his arm. Texas law enforcement has reported that Puckett twice attempted to receive medical treatment for his injuries.
Puckett is considered dangerous. If Puckett is spotted, contact the Texas Department of Justice Classification and Records Office at (936) 437-6484.