3 Fugitives That (Almost) Kept Their Independence

The 4th of July. It’s not only a time to light fireworks, drink beer, and take some well-deserved time off of work, it’s a time to celebrate our nation’s independence from the British…the original Brexit if you will. Here are some fugitives that tried their best to break free and (almost) made it.

To see more fugitives try to outrun the long arm of the law, make sure to check out I (Almost) Got Away with It, Fridays at 9/8C on ID.

William Van Poyck


Escaped from: Florida State Prison in Raiford FL (A.K.A. “The Rock”)

Van Poyck has the dubious honor of escaping from “The Rock” (no, not that Rock). He was pretty much in trouble with the law since his first armed robbery at 17. While serving 25 years for his second armed robbery attempt, he escaped from the prison, only to be captured a month later. After finally being released on parole, Van Poyck couldn’t stay on the straight and narrow and decided to help free a former cellmate from prison. Unfortunately, their attempt proved fatal for the guard driving the prison van, Fred Griffis, who was shot dead during the ambush. During his appeals Van Poyck stated that it was his accomplice Frank Valdes who had fired the kill shot but the jury wasn’t convinced. While on death row Van Poyck wrote three books and published a blog highlighting life on death row. In June of 2013 Van Poyck was excuted for his crimes at Florida State Prison. “Set me free.” Were his reported final words.

Watch the full episode about how Van Poyck Almost Got Away with it here.

Terry Banks


Escaped from: Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron, MO

Banks story is definitely one of love on the run. At 19-years-old, he found himself staring at the beginning of a life sentence at Crossroads for murder. It’s there where he meets prison guard Lynette Williams and you get a reverse Bennett/Dayanara situation on your hands, except this time they get out together. So after making a copy of her prison work badge and a shopping spree at in the mens section of J.C. Penny, she was able to walk Banks out of the security gate to sweet, sweet freedom. The lovebirds were on the run for seven weeks until their story was featured on America’s Most Wanted and the couple was captured by the FBI. They were capture #595 for the show.

You can watch the full episode about Bank & Williams ill-fated romance here.

Darryl Norris


Escaped from: Waller County Jail in Hempstead, TX

Norris had been in jail once already but was released. Life on the outside was not thrilling enough for the converted bank robber so he decided on “one last heist.” Unfortunately he decided to pair up with a hot head who ended up shooting the clerk in the convenience store they were robbing. The cops blamed Norris for the murder and rather than wait around in the county jail he decided to make a break for it by losing 30 pounds and squeezing himself through a less than one foot wide air conditioner vent in the ceiling of his cell. After being turned away by family, an old co-worker reluctantly lent him some money and clothes. Norris decided to make a break for the border but ended up getting nabbed in the swimming pool of the Red Roof Inn he was staying in short five days later.

You can watch Norris’ full episode escape here.




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