Missing Preston man found in Easton Thursday
EASTON — The search for a man who disappeared after he crashed his car outside Preston while fleeing from police Friday, Dec. 9, came to an end Thursday, Dec. 15, when police found him hiding in the attic of a home in Easton, the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Allan Dortez Jones, 39, of Preston, is being held at the Caroline County Detention Center in Denton, facing charges of first- and second-degree assault, second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and possession of a controlled dangerous substance other than marijuana.
Jones was arrested Thursday by the U.S. Marshal’s Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, Maryland State Police Apprehension Team and detectives from the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, police said.
Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds thanked everyone who helped both in the investigation that led to Jones’s arrest, and in the multiple searches for Jones conducted in the days following the crash, after his family, worried because Jones had not contacted any of them, filed a missing persons report.
“From the specialized K-9, aviation, fire and EMS units who searched, to the outstanding detectives who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, ultimately tracking Jones to the residence where he was arrested, all are to be commended for their resolve to ensure that Jones was safely found and arrested,” Bounds said in the news release.
“We hope this brings a sense of relief to Mr. Jones’s family, who has stayed in contact with police while anxiously awaiting word of his whereabouts since he fled from police,” Bounds said.
Jones was stopped around 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, on Preston Road, near American Corner Road, by a Caroline County sheriff’s deputy, on suspicion of driving on a suspended license. When a Maryland state trooper pulled up to provide backup, Jones took off, said Capt. James Henning of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office.
Henning said Jones’s vehicle ran over the deputy’s foot; while the deputy was not injured, it gave Jones enough of a head start on the two officers that neither was within sight of Jones when he crashed his vehicle on Payne Road near Craft Road.
When the officers arrived on the scene, Henning said, Jones was gone, presumably having fled on foot.
The officers immediately requested more backup for a search, Henning said. Several agencies responded. The Maryland State Police Aviation Division used thermal imaging from the air, while a large number of officers searched on foot and by vehicle, with no results.
Jones’s family later filed the missing persons report, worried because Jones had not contacted anyone since the crash, an uncharacteristic silence.
Police conducted three more searches of the area in the following days, personally briefing Jones’s family on search efforts every step of the way, Henning said.
The day after the crash, Saturday, Dec. 10, the sheriff’s office enlisted the Delmarva Search and Rescue Team, which brought two scent detection dogs. A K-9 scan established a track that led the search team through a farm and to a nearby road, where the scent was lost.
Sunday, Dec. 11, the sheriff’s office asked for help from the Preston Volunteer Fire Company and its resources. A detailed search of the surrounding farms and wooded area were conducted, Henning said, turning up no indication Jones was still in the area.
Monday, Dec. 12, the sheriff’s office brought in the Department of Natural Resources Police’s Special Operations Group, which specializes in search and rescue missions, which was also helped by specialized dogs, specifically trained to locate people in distress. A detailed grid search once again resulted in no indication Jones was still in the area.
Before Jones was arrested Thursday, Henning said the sheriff’s office was confident Jones was no longer in the area near where he crashed his vehicle.
“We’ve brought in everyone: volunteer firefighters, professional search and rescue, specialized dogs,” Henning said. “We have done a very thorough job, and covered everything we can.”
No camera footage of the traffic stop is available, Henning said. The state trooper’s car was not equipped with a dash cam, while the one in the deputy’s car had gone out of service Nov. 29, and had not yet been repaired.
Neither the state trooper nor the deputy wore a body camera. Henning said the sheriff’s office recently submitted an application for a grant from the governor’s office to pay for the equipment, but learned it had been turned down.
“Body cameras are very expensive,” Henning said. “They’re on our wish list.”
Allan Dortez Jones