1994 Tulsa County Jail Escape
This is a excerpt from one of Jimmy’s Maxwell‘s upcoming books
By Jimmy Maxwell
To say I wasn’t starting to get excited would be a lie, but I was trying to keep from getting my hopes up until I saw what we were to be transported in. I was holding my breath as the elevator made its way down to the garage level. I let it out slowly when the doors opened and we were herded out. Sure enough sitting right in front of us was a big, beautiful, converted school bus. It was not the same bus I had taken that ride in several years before. This one was full-size and was painted differently, in what I guessed was a newer version of the County Sheriffs Department, colors and logos. But there was no mistaking that underneath it all, was just an old, familiar school bus.
I loaded up through the folding doors, trying to jostle through them while chained to my traveling partner. He was a big, quiet, black dude who was eying me suspiciously as I pulled him back as far into the bus as we could get. They had already loaded half of us so the last three or four sets of seats were occupied. This bus was set up a little differently than the smaller one that I’d ridden on before. It was still equipped with its original seats. They had added some grating over the outside of the windows, which worried me a little, but everything else was the same as the buses I used to ride to school in when I was young. Even the emergency exit door was right there at the end of the aisle, looking no more secure than any other emergency exit that I’d ever seen.
I moved us around so my chain-mate could get in first. He was shackled to my left and I needed to be on the aisle side. We settled in the fourth row of the left-hand seats. Directly on my right were two young blacks who looked like they’d never been to jail before. Both wore that newbie, “I’m scared shitless – of – every damn thing, ” expression that gave their skinner status away. The guard was trying to direct the rest of the inmates to fill the seats up from the rear forward. The seats behind us on both sides were full, with a mixed bunch of blacks, whites and a Mexican or two. Right next to the emergency door was a little, white kid I’d seen around before.
I waited for everyone to get loaded and one of the transport officers to give his — Give us any trouble and we’ll either beat you to death, or just out-right shoot you, speeches, then I let him get settled down with the other guards up front and waited for the bus to actually start moving, before I pulled the wire from my shoe. I didnt know exactly where we were going and how long it would take, or even if that freaking door would open. But, it was all or nothing, so I wasn’t wasting any more time.
My chain-mate wasn’t any dummy. He saw that wire and instinctively knew, why I had maneuvered us to be sitting where we were sitting. He looked at me and shifted his arm in a way that I would have the best access to my cuffs. The wire was stiff and a little too fat to fit easily down into the keyhole. There was no way, to do what I had to do and be subtle about it. I had to pour myself into the task at hand.
A couple times, when the officers voices raised enough to stop my activities so I could listen, the big black beside me would say, “They just talking.” He was letting me know that he was watching out for me. I knew I wasnt being very inconspicuous, at least to the people closest to me, when I heard the two youngsters on my right gasp as my first cuff came open. The guy beside me glared over at them and told them to ‘hush’. Its funny that for a common cause, you and even your-so-called enemies can come together. I guess thats why theres so little racism in the military. We become united when we have to fight next to one another against a common foe.
We were taking the Sheridan Avenue exit off of the Broken Arrow expressway by the time I had my chains free. I glanced at my neighbors over in the right seats and both of them looked scared to death; their eyes as big as head-lights. It seemed like everyone behind me, knew something was up, as well, because when I looked back they were all staring at me. If they didnt know what I was doing, they were going to know soon enough, because one thing I was sure of, there wasn’t any turning back.
I wish I had been ready right then. My in-laws only lived, four or five blocks off to the south of the exit we were taking. Too quickly, we were already turning north through the traffic light onto Sheridan Avenue, picking up speed fast. I looked back at the kid sitting next to the rear door and asked him if there were any locks on it, that he could see. He looked it over and said that he couldn’t be sure, but he saw none. We were a few blocks from the next traffic-lighted intersection. There, would be my next opportunity for them to slow down enough for me to make my move. I asked the kid to lift the lever, to see if it would even move. The youngster reached out and lifted, what I assumed was the handle for opening the door. As he did a small alarm sounded in the front of the bus, so the kid immediately lowered the latch to its original position, silencing the alarm.
Luckily the alarm was not extremely loud and obnoxious. The four guards up front including the driver were deep into an intellectual discussion about which one of them could pee the farthest. I dont know. I just made that up. My mind was not on their conversation, only on the rhythmic sound of it, which never missed a beat. If they did hear it, they dismissed it out of hand as something that the bus spoke up about, in protest to the bus drivers handling of her.
At this point we were coming up to the intersection. I could see no reason, other than the fact that, it would be too good to be true on a maximum security transport, that that particular emergency door would not open. But once committed, running down that aisle and yanking on the lever to that door. If it did not open for some unforeseen reason, my goose would be cooked and my master plan would probably air sometime on Americas Dumbest Criminals. There isn’t any way to look smart standing there at the rear door with a locked emergency lever in your hand, while all the guards are looking at you, trying to register what the f*** you think you are doing. But most importantly to me, was that I would have to face defeat before I ever really got started.
All this flashed through my mind, but the part of my mind that rules the roost pushed those thoughts out of my head as fast as they entered it, all in about a tenth of a second. I didnt come this far to let a door stop me, locked or not.
The light was red and the bus was coming up to the intersection. The driver applied the brakes and I kicked off my shower shoes. The forward momentum of the heavy bus, pressed into the front suspension. The brakes grabbed the drums and the wheels slowed to a stop. I jumped up in the aisle and was hitting that door, before the back of the bus had even settled back down into its springs.
My hand hit the lever as my shoulder hit the metal portal to freedom. I was moving so fast that, if it was locked, I was going to break a rib, or the door was coming out of its frame. I was committed. But, the door…
Copyright 2013 J.S.Maxwell
Edited and formatted by Brandon Wyse