Handcuffed man jumps in lake, but escape is cut short

Published May 18, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - A car door and the handcuffs behind his back were all that stood between Matthew Hastings and freedom early Thursday.

Then a friend opened the car door. Hastings somehow managed to get the handcuffs in front of him.

So what stopped the great escape?

Police gave the following account:

A patrol officer attempted to pull over a 2003 purple PT Cruiser around 12:20 a.m. Thursday. But the driver, identified as Matthew S. Hastings, 32, sped away.

Following department policy, the officers didn't chase him. They did run the vehicle's tags and got an address, an apartment at 12000 Fourth St. N.

Police went knocking on the door. Hastings opened it, and the officers promptly cuffed him behind his back and placed him in the back of a police cruiser. The officers began filling out paperwork.

That's when 22-year-old Emily A. Isse came outside, repeatedly walking to the cruiser for chats with Hastings. Then she opened an unlocked back door of the police car.

Isse blocked an officer. Hastings made a break for it.

Hastings, still with the handcuffs in front of him, ran into a nearby lake. He swam for a bit but was met on the opposite side by police.

Now, he's charged with fleeing and eluding, driving with a suspended license, petty theft and escape. Isse was charged with aiding an escape and burglary.