By Allen Powell II, West Bank bureau
Copyright 2006 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company
When does desperation cross the line?
How about when a handcuffed suspect jumps headfirst from a police cruiser onto a busy highway to avoid a trip to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center?
That scene, seemingly taken from a bad action movie, played out on the West Bank Expressway on Thursday morning.
Shortly before 9 a.m., Kenner police officer Wayne Glaser was taking Justin Marshall, 19, of Slidell, to the parish jail. Marshall was caught inside a home in the 900 block of Tarvel Street in Kenner on Wednesday evening, police said.
Marshall, who at the time of his arrest told police he was a third-degree black belt in the martial arts, told Glaser on the way to jail Thursday that he felt nauseous as they cruised along at about 55 miles per hour near the General DeGaulle Drive exit off the West Bank Expressway. Glaser said he rolled down a rear window and waited for Marshall to vomit.
Meanwhile, motorist Kerry Cuccia of New Orleans, who was traveling behind the police cruiser, saw Marshall's head pop out of the window, slowly followed by his shoulders and torso. Marshall leveraged himself out of the window on his back and eventually was sitting on the door, Cuccia said.
Cuccia said he began blowing his horn to warn the police officer, and Glaser slowed his vehicle to pull toward the side of the road. At that point, Marshall took a scuba diver's roll off the door, falling to the concrete and bouncing several times. Much of the oncoming traffic had already begun to brake and swerve around the police cruiser once they noticed Marshall perched on the door, witnesses said.
Quickly getting to his feet and ignoring a dislocated shoulder, Marshall scrambled to the side of the expressway, hurdled two concrete barriers and squeezed through a gap in a nearby gate. Glaser exited the expressway and called for assistance.
Nearly two dozen officers from the New Orleans Police Department, Crescent City Connection Police Department and Kenner Police Department joined in the hunt. NOPD officers summoned a K-9 unit to search an Algiers neighborhood near Hendee Avenue, Wagner Street and Wall Boulevard.
The police dog searched the 1800 block of Hendee Avenue and eventually picked up Marshall's scent about 10 a.m. Officers released the dog, who found Marshall screaming for help.
Marshall's hands and feet were shackled before he was transported to a hospital. Kenner Sgt. Wayne McCinnis said a Kenner police officer would pick up Marshall and take him to the jail in Gretna.
Marshall, who had been booked earlier with two counts of simple burglary, two counts of criminal damage to property and resisting arrest stemming from the Kenner incident, was also booked with simple escape.
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Allen Powell II can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 826-3793.
Handcuffed La. suspect leaps from a moving patrol car