Police search for Arkansas inmate who escaped out a window

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:36pm EDT

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - Arkansas authorities were searching on Wednesday for an inmate who escaped from jail by slithering through a service window while another prisoner diverted the attention of guards.

According to the Garland County Sheriff's office, Derrick Estell was in a visitation room talking on a phone at the Garland County Detention Center over the weekend when another inmate, William Harding, diverted the guard's attention by asking questions.

The guards left the area to look up the answers to the questions. When they did so, Estell squeezed through the window and ran to a waiting car owned by Harding and driven by Tamara Upshaw. The sheriff's office now has a warrant out for her arrest.

"Investigators have reason to believe that others are involved in the planned escape and are working to confirm the information received and issue warrants for their arrest," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Before escaping, Estell was being held in jail awaiting trial on 26 charges including burglary, theft and drug-related offenses.

Authorities said those who assisted could include "family members, friends and other inmates of both the Garland County Detention Center and Arkansas Department of Corrections."

The incident was the second escape in recent days in Arkansas. Two inmates at the Jackson County jail in Newport escaped through a hole in a ceiling of the cell they shared on Monday. One of the inmates was captured in the woods near the jail on Monday night, Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas said.

The other inmate was killed on Tuesday when the car he was driving crashed and burned as he fled police pursuing him in Shannon County, Missouri, Lucas said.

(Reporting by Suzi Parker; Editing by Greg McCune and Prudence Crowther)

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