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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Caught: County works together to keep citizens safe

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Kline getting off the courthouse elevator with jailer Robert Yocom May 17.

Daniel Kline Jr. was placed on home detention Nov. 5, 2003, for D Felony OVWI and A Misdemeanor resisting law enforcement charges. He complied with the rules for 58 days of his 180 day sentence, until Jan. 2, 2004. Then he ran.

The Clay County Community Corrections staff of Garth Brown, John Tabasco and Jamie Ringo, were responsible for monitoring Kline's daily whereabouts. As soon as Tabasco realized Kline had absconded, he notified Brown and Chief Probation Officer Steve Bell. Then he took a photo of Kline to the Clay County Sheriff and Brazil Police departments.

The search began. For the next four months it was hit and miss. Community Corrections and the police agencies received calls saying Kline was at such and such place but when authorities got there, he was gone.

On May 9, Chief Deputy Larry Pierce spotted Kline in a car ahead of him. As Pierce was about to pull him over, the fugitive noticed him. Kline stopped his car, jumped out and took off running through a corn field. He left his 14-year-old nephew in the car.

The next day about 3:30 p.m. Steve Bell and Kelsey White, the Clay County Probation Officers went to the Community Correction's office and notified Tabasco they'd received an anonymous tip that Kline was sitting out on a lawn in Turner, drinking coffee.

"About that same time I received another anonymous tip saying that Kline was, in fact, in Turner, was armed and would not come in willingly," Tabasco said.

"I called the Sheriff Department and asked for Sgt. Det. Mike Heaton and Dep. Brian Pierce," Tabasco continued. The department has a gold Explorer with tinted windows so we used that instead of a marked car."

Tabasco drove so he could identify Kline. Heaton and Pierce rode with him. When they reached Turner they found Kline exactly where they were told he'd be, siting out in a front yard drinking coffee. Assuming he was armed, they proceeded cautiously.

"I stopped, rolled the window down and said, 'Don't move Dan.' When he saw my face he had a deer in the headlight look. As soon as I ID'd him as Daniel Kline, the deputies jumped out of the vehicle," Tabasco said.

"Kline put his hands on his thighs and said, 'I'm not armed. I know what you heard.' He was apprehended and went without resistance.

"The officers treated him very professionally," Tabasco continued. "Dan was rather agitated. They talked to him politely and when we got to the jail they calmed him down."

Tabasco was asked what Kline's normal demeanor was like. He paused for a few seconds then answered, "Unpredictable."

Tabasco was asked why he thought a man on the run would stay around the area where he was being hunted.

"I think he just didn't care," Tabasco responded. "I think there's something attractive to him in defying the law. His family said they think he thought it was cool."

Kline is currently in the Clay County Jail. His initial hearing was May 17. Judge Ernest Yelton entered a plea of not guilty for him for a D-felony escape charge and appointed Goeffrey Creason as his attorney. Trial has been set for 9 a.m. July 19. Violation of probation will be processed at another time.

"Home detention is an alternative to incarceration," Brown said. "If it's abused it's taken away."

Monitoring 29 clients on home detention and numerous community service cases can be a difficult and frustrating job. But the Community Corrections staff remain diligent.

"We do this because we love people," Tabasco said. "There's a lot of good here. Some of our clients really change. They go on to productive, law abiding lives and contribute to the community. That makes it all worth it."

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