Manhunt Keeps Officers Busy In Timpson - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/20/08 - Timpson

Manhunt Keeps Officers Busy In Timpson

by Donna McCollum

Richard Ballard was obviously fatigued. From about 8:30 to right before noon the Richmond man had been running from law enforcement, just like he first did from Trooper Jay Stone. The DPS officer will undoubtedly never forget his first drug seizure.    " His story was consistent with trafficking drugs and things like that. Smelled marijuana in the vehicle. Begun to search the vehicle, asked him if there was marijuana present, he did advise there was marijuana,"  said Stone.

They found 246 pounds of it in a travel trailer. The thirty five year old wasn't on any vacation. Just prior to being handcuffed Ballard took off running. When asked why he said,  " I don't want to be in trouble." when asked if he thinks he's in trouble now he acknowledged yes with a nod of the head. The suspect disappeared in about 30 acres of woods in the direct vicinity of Timpson schools. A lock down was immediately ordered. Noone gets on or off the campus. Superintendent Dr. Leland Moore explained,  " For the safety and security of our students and so that we can control the perimeter of the campuses. This is an automatic for all school districts. "  School district police chief, Kim Graham said,  " This is the first real lock down we've done, but we practice throughout the year almost on a monthly basis. "

Prison search dogs were brought in, but Ballard was eventually spotted by an observant resident. Authorities were quickly alerted. Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Kent Graham noted,  " He was sweating and all that real bad like he had been out running , so went ahead and apprehended him. " Ballard was on a cell phone, perhaps calling for a ride.

All the participating law enforcement agencies are pleased how the manhunt ended. They attribute it to full cooperation.  Sheriff Newton Johnson said,  " We had officers stationed all over the school. We also had officers surrounding the immediate area. "  Ballard now sits in the Shelby County Jail for transporting about $250,000 worth of marijuana and avoiding arrest.

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