Pruitt doesn’t report to serve time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2000

David Pruitt will face felony escape charges after skipping the first day of his five-month Lawrence County Jail stay.

Wednesday, October 04, 2000

David Pruitt will face felony escape charges after skipping the first day of his five-month Lawrence County Jail stay.

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"We went yesterday looking for him but we were unable locate him, and we’re continuing the search today to see if he could still be in the county," said state fire marshal Bob Lawless, who is coordinating the effort.

Pruitt did not show at the jail Monday, the day he was court ordered to appear.

Sheriff’s deputies have an arrest warrant for Pruitt’s failure to appear. But, under new state laws, not showing up at jail when you have to serve time nets an escape charge, Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said.

The prosecutor’s office, the sheriff and Lawless are seeking that felony warrant from Ironton Municipal Court, Collier said.

Pruitt is not considered dangerous, and he’s not in the best of health, Lawless said.

Pruitt and his daughter, Vickki Bailey, pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of illegally selling fireworks near their Ohio River Fireworks store in Scottown where nine people died in a 1996 fire.

Lawrence County Municipal Court Judge Donald Capper sentenced Pruitt to six months in jail, with one month suspended, and a $500 fine, according to court records. Ms. Bailey was sentenced to six months in jail, with four months suspended, and a $200 fine.

Ms. Bailey reported Monday to serve her jail term.

The state fire marshal’s office and sheriff’s deputies will continue trying to locate Pruitt, Lawless said.

"It depends on what leads we come up with today as to his whereabouts if we ask for help or not," he said. "There are fire marshals offices in every state that I can make connections with if we can identify if he has left the state."

There are a lot of places in Lawrence County to hide, so officials are optimistic he will be found locally, Lawless said.

"He’s very familiar with the area around Scottown," he said.

Anyone with information on Pruitt’s whereabouts may call the fire marshal’s office at 1-800-589-2728 or the sheriff’s department at 532-3525.

Lawless and investigators arrested Pruitt and Ms. Bailey over the July 1 weekend.

Undercover officers had made purchases of fireworks from a pull-behind camper/trailer Pruitt was using for his business. The vehicle was parked within several hundred yards of his 1996 business.

Officials said then that the consumer fireworks purchased included bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers. Fireworks can only be sold by fireworks manufacturers and wholesalers who possess a license.

Pruitt’s fireworks license was revoked by the State of Ohio after the fire in the Scottown store.