A Traer man led police on a high-speed chase through three counties on Friday, leaving a trail of several alleged car thefts and a robbery in Tama County.
Jeremy Mask, 25, escaped from the Black Hawk County Jail on Thursday, July 12, just after 4 p.m. Mask was awaiting trial on a first-degree robbery charge for the April 2012 holdup of a Waterloo pharmacy.
During renovation of the jail facility, Mask was able to exit through a fire escape while crews worked - ironically - on upgrading the jail's phone and security system. Officials from the sheriff's office believe Mask made his way down a fire tower and out of the facility, where he shed his jumpsuit in a nearby apartment building.
Deputies and officers from three counties were on hand Friday following a high-speed chase through the area that ended with the capture of Jeremy Mask. Mask, who escaped the Black Hawk County Jail while awaiting trial on a robbery charge, is alleged to have stolen at least three vehicles and robbed a Toledo pharmacy over the course of Thursday evening and Friday morning. Here, police converge on the scene on Eagle Road just east of US-63, where the vehicle Mask was driving, a stolen Ford Fusion, ended up in the ditch. Mask is currently being held without bond in Waterloo.
According to police, there was a red F-150 stolen from behind the Boardwalk Deli, which Mask is alleged to have taken. A short time later, a deputy who spotted Mask at his home in Traer in that truck attempted to pursue him, but lost him.
Mask is also alleged to have robbed the Medicap Pharmacy in Toledo a short time later, passing a note to a cashier and leaving with money and medication.
A light blue 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis was reported stolen around this time, which police also allege to be the work of Mask. After an exhaustive manhunt in which authorities used interviews with family, tips from friends and even social media, Mask was spotted behind the wheel of another reportedly stolen car in La Porte City, when the chase ensued.
All in all, deputies from Tama, Black Hawk and Grundy Counties gave chase and followed Mask through portions of all three counties at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. After spike strips were ineffective, police finally captured Mask when he lost control of the vehicle and ended up in a ditch on Eagle Road just east of US-63.
The Star-Clipper was present as Mask was taken away by deputies and the process of fetching the vehicle from the ditch began (pictured above).
Mask now faces seven additional charges in connection with his escape. He will be facing charges for felony escape, felony eluding, second-degree theft, two counts of operating a vehicle without owners' consent as well as third-degree burglary.
He is currently being held without bond at the Black Hawk County Jail. Mask is the first person in the 15-year history of the current facility to escape.