Man who escaped jail in garbage pleads not guilty

Man who escaped jail in garbage pleads not guilty
Thomas Grimes speaks with his attorney in a Douglas County courtroom on Friday, where he pleaded not guilty on all the charges against him.

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The man police have called a prolific car thief stood in front of a judge on Friday, and pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.

Friday was the first day that Thomas Grimes, 32, had been back in court since he escaped from jail back on June 15.

He pleaded not guilty to second degree felony escape, attempt to elude police, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, to name a few.

Grimes was originally arrested for stealing a car.     

He broke out of the Douglas County Jail by hiding in a trash can that was later wheeled outside by another inmate.

Police say Grimes was then suspected of stealing other cars and leading police on several high speed chases through Sutherlin and Oakland, as well as an incident where he allegedly tried to run down a Springfield officer in another stolen car.

Police in Springfield said that at about 3:40 a.m. on July 12, Sgt Pete Kirkpatrick found a stolen vehicle at 1308 33rd Street in Springfield.

Officials say he approached the vehicle and spotted Grimes next to the car.

When he contacted Grimes, a fight ensued, and police say Grimes was able to get into the car.

That's when police say Grimes drove directly at another officer who had arrived to help.

Officials say an that officer shot at Grimes, striking the vehicle.

The car missed the officer and took off at a high rate of speed.

Police then gave chase, and Grimes crashed at 42nd and Olympic.

Grimes fled from the vehicle and escaped into a wooded area on foot. Springfield K-9 units and the SWAT team were called in to assist with the search.

Later, a white 1996 4-door Saturn was reported stolen from a business in the direction Grimes had fled.

He was arrested by Springfield police in a Fall Creek area campsite last week.

His trial is scheduled to begin on October 9.