Cab driver: Fugitive couple's Amway talk rang hollow
By Associated Press
Published August 12, 2005
NEWPORT, Ky. - Mike Wagers was his usual chatty self during the nearly two-hour cab ride. He passed the time talking about "nonsensical things" with his passengers, and even called a buddy and had him check the Internet for a cheap motel for the couple.
In fact, Wagers said the only time he wondered about the pair was when they told him they were headed to an Amway convention.
"Amway people are all about Amway, and when they didn't try any conversation further about it, that's when I pretty much thought, "Well, they're not with Amway; they're doing something else,' " said Wagers, 33.
Alerted by a friend, Wagers later made the connection: His passengers, Jennifer and George Hyatte, were on the run, accused of killing a prison guard during a courthouse escape in Tennessee two days earlier.
He called authorities, who arrested the Hyattes at their Ohio motel without a struggle. The friend who called Wagers knew that a stolen van linked to the fugitives had been found near where the cab driver had picked up the couple Wednesday.
An extradition hearing was scheduled for the couple today in Columbus. They were expected to be returned to Tennessee on warrants for first-degree murder in the death of Wayne Morgan, 56, authorities said.
Jennifer Hyatte is accused of ambushing Morgan and another guard Tuesday as they were leading her husband - a convicted robber - from a hearing. They fled and wound up in Erlanger, Ky., where Wagers picked them up. The couple handed Wagers two $100 bills for the $185 fare.
Wagers said taking a couple 115 miles from Kentucky into Ohio isn't unusual; airline passengers with delayed flights do that sometimes.
"I didn't feel uncomfortable," Wagers said. "I had been paid, so my guard was really down."
Wagers said he didn't recognize the pair or notice a leg wound police said Jennifer Hyatte suffered in the shootings. "To them, I was just a friendly cab driver because I'm the chitchatty type," Wagers said.