Handcuffed Ind. drug suspect steals police car, still on the loose after crashing cruiser

William Francis Blankenship, 22, is seen in an undated photo provided by the Porter County Sheriff's Dept. Police in northwest Indiana are hunting for Blankenship, who stole a police cruiser while handcuffed, and radioed police for help in finding a key to unlock his hands. Porter County Sheriffâ
AP Photo/Porter County Sheriff's Dept.
Police in Indiana say William Francis Blankenship, 22, seen here in an undated photo, stole a police cruiser while handcuffed, and called police for help unlocking the cuffs.
AP Photo/Porter County Sheriff's Dept.

(CBS/AP) INDIANAPOLIS - A handcuffed drug suspect who stole a police cruiser containing loaded guns, then wrecked and abandoned the car, is still on the loose in northwest Indiana, authorities said Wednesday.

After stealing  the car Tuesday evening in the small Indiana town of Kouts, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, William Francis Blankenship used the police radio to ask where to find the car's cigarette lighter, and the keys to unlock himself, police said.

There was a conversation between him and one of our officers," Porter County Sheriff's Sgt. Larry LaFlower said. Police didn't tell Blankenship, 22, how to remove the handcuffs, LaFlower said.

The only police officer on duty had just arrested Blankenship on drug charges. The suspect somehow managed to escape from the back of the car, climb in the front and drive it away, police said.

Police say they found the cruiser abandoned, wrecked and submerged in water Wednesday morning in nearby LaPorte County.

LaFlower did not say if loaded weapons that had been left in the vehicle were still there when the wreck was discovered, although earlier police had said Blankenship should be considered armed and dangerous.