Man jumps bail in handcuffs

Oct. 24, 2013 @ 08:02 AM

If not for the 27 staples holding bail bondsman Steven Herbert's insides together, a handcuffed Josh Price might have been caught moments after he ran from Herbert's car Monday evening.

Price, 20, had been arrested in Iredell County on a felony larceny charge. To get out of jail, Price contacted Herbert at Aaron's Bail Bonds in Statesville and agreed to post a premium on a $40,000 secured bond -- but the money was to be paid by Price's mother.

Price had used Aaron's before and was considered a good customer, so Herbert posted the bond and agreed to drive Price to his home on 19 Pearl St. in Granite Falls. However, he placed a pair of his own handcuffs on Price that he would leave on until he actually met with Price's mother and received the money.

They arrived at Pearl Street in Herbert's car about 5:30 p.m. and waited. And kept waiting. About 7:30 p.m., Price bolted out the front passenger door and ran. Herbert, recovering from surgery to remove his appendix, started after him.

"I chased him for a little bit, but I wasn't about to bust my gut open, so I stopped," Herbert said.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, N.C. Highway Patrol and Granite Falls police searched the area using thermal imaging equipment, but Price was nowhere to be found.

On Tuesday, just before 4 p.m. Granite Falls police were called out to a possible break-in of a house at 17 Pearl St., next door to Price's house. The homeowner was in South Carolina visiting her brother. Officers arrived to find the front door locked but a window open. They climbed in and searched the house. Police said they found Price hiding in a bedroom with 20-year-old Jessica Diane Hamel, and 23-year-old Madison Rae Eckard. Each of Price's wrists still wore a handcuff, but the chain between them had been cut.

Price was arrested and put in jail, held under the original $40,000 secured bond and additional secured bonds totalling $4,500. He was charged with larceny, possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, and damage to personal property.

Hamel, also of 19 Pearl St., was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $1,500.

Eckard, of 120 Dudley Shoals Road, was charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and probation violation. Her bond on the drug charges was set at $3,000 secured, and on the probation charge at $25,000 secured.

All three have first appearance hearings set for Nov. 12 in Caldwell District Court.