Sidney inmate flees court appearance, still missing

2013-05-08T20:27:00Z 2013-05-09T08:14:26Z Sidney inmate flees court appearance, still missingBy TOM LUTEY The Billings Gazette

A Sidney fugitive who escaped from court early Wednesday is still on the loose, possibly headed for Billings.

Lawrence Eugene Speldrich Jr., 23, of Sidney, bolted for the exits during a morning court appearance for felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs, misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession and criminal mischief.

Authorities say Speldrich, who goes by Larry, fled the courtroom, ran down a flight of stairs and disappeared into a residential neighborhood, where police launched a door-to-door search. Schools were also briefly locked down.

Speldrich is muscular, with brown eyes, brown hair and a military-style haircut. He is 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He has ties to the Billings area, said Richland County authorities, who have expanded their search for Speldrich statewide.

In addition to the new charges filed against Speldrich, he also faced a petition to revoke a suspended sentence. Speldrich was commited to the Montana Department of Corrections for felony burglary after violating his probation in 2009, according to state records. In 2010, Speldrich received a suspended five-year sentence for criminal drug possession with intent to distribute.

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