Indiana county seeks repayment for police fugitive manhunt


CROWN POINT, Ind. — A northwestern Indiana county is seeking repayment of more than $30,000 from a private transport company for a manhunt police mounted after a fugitive escaped while being extradited from Texas.

The Lake County Commissioners unanimously agreed Wednesday to send REDI Transports a letter seeking reimbursement from the Green Bay, Wisconsin, company for the expenses incurred during the two-week-long manhunt and recapture of Leon Taylor.

The letter also seeks repayment of the company’s original charge for transporting Taylor, 22, from Texas to Lake County, where the Hammond man is a suspect in a Chicago man’s murder, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Commissioner Mike Repay writes in the letter there is “very little doubt,” based on visual evidence and the inconsistent statements of the company’s transport officer, that REDI Transports and its employee were “grossly negligent” in transporting Taylor to Lake County.

Crystal Cook, the president of REDI Transports, said in a statement that the company had received the commissioners’ notice of their “intent to recover the costs associated with the capture of Leon Taylor.” She said the company planned to “request a further breakdown of expenses to review” but was declining further comment.

Taylor escaped on Dec. 14 after a transport van was in the drive-through of a McDonald’s restaurant in Gary as a REDI Transports agent was moving him from Texas via O’Hare International Airport to the Lake County Jail.

He was recaptured on Dec. 30 in East Chicago by Lake County officers.

Before his recapture, Lake County authorities said video of Taylor’s escape from the van contradicted the driver’s story that Taylor jumped through an open window while the vehicle was stopped at a McDonald’s drive-through.

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