The Buffalo News : City & Region

Monday, July 21, 2008

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Arrest made in odd case involving strip, search

Updated: 07/21/08 6:37 AM

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A Buffalo man who tore his clothes off and fled from a routine traffic stop faces multiple charges after he spent all day Saturday as a fugitive in the woods on Grand Island.

Mark Pannell, 27, of Millicent Avenue, surrendered at about 11:30 p. m. Saturday after jumping into the Niagara River to further elude arrest, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Pannell went on the run at about 8:45 a. m. Saturday when deputies stopped his car on Grand Island Boulevard near Staley Road. While Deputy Shaun Hediger was checking Pannell’s driver’s license, Pannell stripped down to his underwear and fled into the woods.

Deputies lost him in the dense underbrush, and a three-hour search assisted by state police, a Border Patrol helicopter and a K-9 dog did not turn him up.

Spotted full-clothed late Saturday on River Road in the Town of Tonawanda, near the Grand Island Bridge, Pannell jumped into the river near the Mid River Marina but quickly tired in the water, climbed ashore and surrendered. He told officers he was in the woods all day and even took a nap in a tree house.

Police said Pannell was driving with a suspended license, and they learned he was wanted in Buffalo on two misdemeanor warrants for possession of marijuana and some traffic charges. He also was charged with obstructing government administration.

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