Fugitive On The Loose

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As one man ran from the Payson Justice Courthouse to avoid jail, another darted from his probation officer trying to avoid the same fate Tuesday afternoon. One of the two escapees remains at large.

While responding to a call from Payson Justice Court that Timothy Zimmer, 40, had disobeyed an order by Judge Ronnie McDaniel and fled the courtroom, police stumbled upon 19-year-old John Ferraro (aka John Shiflett), attempting to break free of his probation officer as he was taking him into custody.

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Timothy Zimmer

"Initially, the officers thought this was all one combined incident, but it was actually two separate incidents," Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said. "Officers saw (Ferraro) struggling with the probation officer. He broke free and ran across the Beeline Highway. Evidently, they were making arrangements to revoke his probation."

Ferraro was arrested last week when police and probation went to his motel room to arrest him for an outstanding warrant and found 11 grams of methamphetamine. Ferraro crawled out a window, but police quickly nabbed him.

While officers tracked down Ferraro for a second time hiding in the rest room at a nearby cafe, Zimmer managed to elude law enforcement.

According to McDaniel, Zimmer was being arraigned on charges of manufacturing dangerous drugs and possession of equipment and chemicals to manufacture dangerous drugs.

Zimmer was arrested in April for operating a methamphetamine lab in Jake's Corner.

"The bond was set at a total of $10,500," McDaniel said. "He asked me to release him on his own recognizance. I made the decision not to do that and told him to have a seat in the courtroom."

As Zimmer was heading to the back of the courtroom, McDaniel said Zimmer reported feeling ill.

"He went to the rear courtroom door and said he needed to throw up," McDaniel said. "He stepped outside and ran."

When officers realized they had a second suspect fleeing, they set up a perimeter and called in a canine unit, but were unable to locate Zimmer.

They also searched the trailer park where Zimmer's mother lives, but found no sign of him.

Police are asking for the public's help in finding Zimmer.

"We are continuing to look for him," Engler said. "We believe he's still in the area and we'd appreciate any help the community could give us."

Zimmer has a "scruffy" appearance, Engler said. He has chin-length, brown hair, hazel eyes, is six feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.

Anyone with information about Zimmer is asked to call the police department at (928) 474-5177. Callers can remain anonymous.

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