February 15, 2011
A Sedgwick County inmate is on trial this week for smuggling a lighter and a cuff key into the van while he was being transported to another facility. Elie Edwards is accused of the bizarre crime that happened last May.
Two deputies had just begun to transport six inmates to different facilities across the state. Edwards was to go to Larned for a competency evaluation for an unrelated case.
Shortly after the deputies left the Sedgwick County Jail, the inmates began complaining of a foul odor in the van. As they started pleading with the deputies to roll down their windows, suddenly there was a fire at the back of the van.
The deputies pulled the van over and found Edwards out of his shackles and handcuffs. He tried to escape, but deputy Kelvin Hicks chased him and caught him while Deputy Robert Burkhead tended to the other inmates.
Because of their priorities, the fire eventually got out of control and the transport van was totaled.
Edwards waived his right to a jury trial earlier this week and opted to have a bench trial. Closing arguments are scheduled in the case tomorrow. Judge Eric Commer is expected to rule on Edwards guilt or innocence shortly after that.