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Fleeing Suspect ‘Faces’ Consequences

CLEVELAND– Friday afternoon, a burglary suspect who fled from police learned the hard way that diving out of windows is not as easy as it looks on TV.

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Liberty County Pct. 6 Constable John Joslin investigated the burglary of a garage belonging to Rusty Faulkner. Joslin received information a suspect was staying at the Best Western Hotel, which is a short distance behind the Faulkner home. He and his deputies went to the second floor of the hotel, where they knocked on the door. They subsequently heard the sound of some sort of banging commotion inside, accompanied by toilets flushing.

A woman then opened the door and when deputies asked about the suspect, 26-year-old David Hatten, the woman said he jumped out of the window. Constable Joslin rushed to the window and looked down to see the suspect, approximately 30 feet below, appearing to be incapacitated or worse. Hatten landed face first on a central air conditioner’s condensing unit. The force of the impact broke through the exhaust grill and into the exhaust fan.

Oddly enough, when the Constable got downstairs, Hatten was not attached to the a/c unit. Instead, despite severe facial trauma and upper palette damage to his mouth, he was running across US 59, with backup units in pursuit. When Hatten was caught, he was so severely injured, medics called for PHI Air Medical to fly the mutilated suspect to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston where he remains as of this writing.

Deputies recovered a felony amount of methamphetamine from the room, along with items typically associated with both the use and distribution of illegal drugs, such as small plastic zipper bags, scales and smoking pipes. Additionally, they removed items connected with other burglaries.

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A tip then led deputies to the home of Hatten’s associate, 45-year-old George Anthony Lauderdale in Splendora. Assisted by members of the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, Pct. 6 investigators found Lauderdale in possession of multiple stolen items, including those taken by Hatten from the Faulkner garage.

As they approached the home, they spotted the stolen wheels and tires in an open shed. They also found synthetic marijuana and a methamphetamine pipe in the front seat of Lauderdale’s truck. Lauderdale, a baggage handler for United Airlines, also admitted he had been using illegal drugs and led investigators to methamphetamine and marijuana inside his home.

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Constable Joslin said their investigation indicated Lauderdale was helping Hatten sell stolen items, but since the garage burglary was so recent, they had not had time to get rid of anything. As a result, all of Faulkner’s items were recovered. Joslin said a few other burglaries were cleared through items found during the investigation. There were also items believed to be stolen, but not yet connected to a crime.

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Upon his release from the hospital, David Hatten will be charged with felony Possession of a Controlled Substance and Burglary of a Building, as well as Criminal Mischief (for the damage his face inflicted upon the hotel’s air unit). He also has open warrants in Montgomery County.

George Lauderdale was arrested on the scene and is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance; Theft of Property $500 to $1,500, and an outstanding Precinct 4 warrant for Failure to Appear.

As for Hatten’s plunge into the central air unit, Constable Joslin will never forget it.

“In all my years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Joslin said.

 

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