New Middletown escape suspect indicted


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A man who police said escaped custody in New Middletown last month and then lied about having an accomplice that resulted in a massive manhunt has been indicted by a Mahoning County grand jury.

Brandon Bennett, 30, of New Middletown, is facing felony charges of inducing panic, escape and theft. He was released from the Mahoning County Jail on Thursday after posting $153,000 bond and no court date has been set yet.

Police said Bennett was among a group of men drinking and shooting off fireworks Dec. 4 at the Camelot Mobile Home Park in New Middletown. After being taken into custody, Bennett climbed through the police cruiser partition and climbed out the cruiser’s front window while handcuffed.

According to a police report, Bennett then stole a pickup truck and led police on a chase up Route 170 to Unity Road, where it crashed. Bennett was then captured again and he told police his accomplice ran off into the woods, prompting a massive manhunt involving 10 police departments for the second suspect, who was actually in Oklahoma.

The manhunt prompted the Springfield Local School District to delay the start of classes for several hours on Dec. 5.

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