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Wednesday, July 06, 2022
METRO  |  CRIME

Gainesville Police Department, University Police Department catch escaped prisoner

Darius D. Phillips spent most of Wednesday in handcuffs, but for about 11 of those hours he was a free man.

After running away from Gainesville Police in the middle of his arrest around 8:30 a.m., Phillips was caught on Newell Drive on Wednesday night. Phillips, 20, was arrested on charges of domestic battery, grand theft auto and fleeing police.

UF students received text and email alerts Wednesday morning warning that Phillips was last seen at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center on Southwest 34th Street. At about 7 p.m., an unknown person called 911 and said Phillips was near the New Physics Building, according to University Police Lt. Andy Wagner.

About eight members of UPD responded to the scene, and officer Jordan Craven saw Phillips standing near Museum Road. Phillips was still in handcuffs, though they were covered by a shirt and now in front of his body.

When Craven approached Phillips, the alleged criminal bolted east. Craven chased after Phillips, and other officers joined. Ultimately, investigator Burton Parker caught Phillips at the bottom of the hill on Newell Drive, just north of the McKnight Brain Institute.

Campus police gave Phillips back to GPD officers at about 7:30 p.m., and they drove Phillips to the Alachua County Jail later Wednesday night. UF sent another alert at about 7:50 p.m. to notify students of the arrest.

Phillips was originally arrested by GPD at about 8:30 a.m. in the 1400 block of Southwest 42nd Street, but he ran away while being moved from one police car to another. He was sitting in the car of an officer who was on the midnight shift, which was ending.

Police planned to move him to the car of an officer who was working the day shift, but as they escorted him to the other car, Phillips broke free and ran south, GPD spokeswoman Cpl. Angelina Valuri said.

Officers and ASO's K-9 Unit were unable to track Phillips on Wednesday morning, though one witness told police she saw Phillips climbing a fence in handcuffs near the Kensington Apartments on Southwest 20th Avenue. Another witness said Phillips was near the Hilton, but he disappeared into the woods.

Phillips was previously arrested on charges of carjacking, robbery, resisting arrest and driving without a valid drivers license, according to county records.

Contact Tyler Jett at tjett@alligator.org.

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