Lander Man Accused Of Breaking Out Of Moving Jail Van After Jumping On Cars

A 31-year-old Lander man is accused of swallowing fentanyl, jumping on vehicles during Halloween, then busting out of a moving van that was taking him to jail.

Clair McFarland

December 07, 20233 min read

Fremont County Sheriffs vehicle 12 7 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Accused of performing fentanyl-fueled parkour on vehicles then kicking out the window of a moving van taking him to jail in an attempt to escape, a Lander man could face three years in prison.  

Thomas Quinn Surrell, 31, is charged in Fremont County District Court with one count of attempting to escape detention, punishable by up to three years in prison and $3,000 in fines. He’s also facing a misdemeanor property destruction charge, punishable by up to six months in jail and $750 in fines.  

He pleaded not guilty Nov. 21 and is set for a March 4 trial.  

Halloween And Fentanyl 

It started on Halloween. 

At about 5:34 that evening, Lander Police Sgt. John Cunningham was sent to the 800 block of Lander’s Main Street for a report of a man jumping on vehicles.  

Police identified the man as Surrell, says a Nov. 1 evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.  

“Surrell was unsteady on his feet and spoke with slurred words,” reads the affidavit. Police arrested him on suspicion of public intoxication and booked him into the nearby Fremont County Detention Center.  

But detention staff became aware that Surrell had taken several fentanyl pills, smoked methamphetamine and had a high blood-alcohol content, the document says.  

Out of fear that he was overdosing, personnel took Surrell to SageWest Health Care.  

He was combative and uncooperative at the hospital, so police handcuffed his hands behind his back instead of in front of him with a belly chain, says the affidavit.  

Back To Jail  

After the hospital visit was over, Cunningham helped Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy Ronald Glasgow put Surrell into the transport van to go back to jail.  

In his own patrol vehicle, Cunningham followed the van back to the jail.  

Near the Lander office of Wyoming Game and Fish, Cunningham saw a stepstool fall out of the passenger side of the transport van, and he stopped to pick it up, says the affidavit.  

Getting Some Air 

The document says that just then, Glasgow radioed that Surrell had kicked the window out of the van, and the deputy was driving ahead to the jail with his emergency flashers on.  

Surrell was hanging halfway out the window, Glasgow told dispatch.  

Cunningham caught up to the van, which was by then parked off Main Street, and saw Surrell face down on the sidewalk.  

The deputy and sergeant put Surrell in the back of Cunningham’s patrol truck, and he went to the jail without any further incident, the affidavit relates.  

Meanwhile, a Lander Police officer investigated the alleged escape. He found shattered glass “all over” the inside flooring of the transport van, and shattered glass near the Game and Fish office, says the affidavit.  

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter