The man accused of shooting a New York State Trooper in September briefly escaped from custody last night as he was being transported back to the Clinton County Jail following a court appearance. The man, Vladimir Kulakov, was recaptured shortly after the escape and is now facing felony escape charges in addition to attempted murder charges. In the September incident, Kulakov allegedly shot at Trooper Sean Finn, who was hit in the hands and head. Thankfully, Trooper Finn has recovered from his injuries. The Plattsburgh Press-Republican newspaper published a story on January 6, 2006 about the escape attempt, which is included below.
By JOE LoTEMPLIO, Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — Accused cop-shooter Vladimir Kulakov briefly escaped custody Thursday evening causing local law-enforcement personnel to quickly scramble.
Kulakov, 48, was on his way back to the Clinton County Jail from a court appearance at the Town of Plattsburgh Town Hall on Banker Road around 5:48 p.m. when he apparently bolted from the back seat of a Clinton County Sheriff’s vehicle.
Sheriff David Favro said the vehicle was on Trade Road near the jail traveling at about 5 mph when Kulakov kicked open the back door of the car.
He ran from the vehicle, heading into the nearby woods off Route 374, Favro said.
The vehicle Kulakov was riding in was staffed by two county corrections officers.
It was being followed by another sheriff’s vehicle with an armed deputy.
The deputy and correction officers initiated a chase for Kulakov and radioed for help.
A flood of State Police troopers and investigators quickly arrived to the area and formed a perimeter.
Plattsburgh City Police also responded.
After about 20 minutes of searching, Kulakov was captured in a wooded area near Quarry Road.
"This was an incredible effort by law enforcement," Favro said.
"If we didn’t have that we might still be looking for him."
State Police Capt. Richard C. Smith Jr., the acting commander of Troop B, said there happened to be a large number of investigators working out of Plattsburgh on the recent homicide of David and Lorraine Donivan that were able to help find Kulakov.
No one was injured during Kulakov’s capture.
Kulakov has been in jail without bail the past four months for allegedly shooting Trooper Sean Finn.
He is accused of shooting Finn the night of Sept. 9 after Finn had pulled him over for allegedly driving a stolen vehicle.
Kulakov ran into the woods off Tom Miller Road and Finn pursued him.
Kulakov allegedly shot Finn as the trooper closed in on him in the woods.
Finn suffered injuries to his head, hand and arm. He was treated at the hospital and sent home.
Police captured Kulakov the next day near Pottersville about 70 miles south of Plattsburgh.
Police found an assault rifle with a bayonet attached to it in the back of the truck Kulakov was driving.
He was indicted in October on 14 counts, including first-degree attempted murder.
His court appearance Thursday night was regarding another felony charge from a previous incident.
Favro said it appears that Kulakov got one leg free from shackles and possibly his hands.
"We need to look into this further to see what happened," Favro said.
He also said he was not sure how Kulakov managed to kick open the door of the police vehicle, which are usually unable to open from the inside.
Kulakov was wearing a black-and-white-striped prison uniform when he ran from the police vehicle.
Favro said he apparently took the uniform off while he was trying to evade police and was in the woods in his undergarments.
The sheriff said Kulakov has been treated as a high-risk inmate, living in a cell alone.
He is monitored closely and his quarters are routinely searched.
Extra measures such as an escort vehicle are taken when he must make court appearances.
"He has an incredible profile for this type of action," Favro said.
The sheriff said even further precautions will be taken when dealing with Kulakov.
"You can be sure of that," Favro said.
Kulakov was charged Thursday night with first-degree escape, a felony.
He was taken back to Town of Plattsburgh Court for arraignment and then brought back to jail.
As he was being led to the State Police all-terrain vehicle at the State Police barracks on Route 22, Kulakov vowed that "I will be free soon."
He also said he had "helpers," and "we’ll see who laughs last."
Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie, who took office last week, said the escape case would most likely be transferred to Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne as other charges have.
Wylie ordered that matters dealing with Kulakov be prosecuted by Champagne because when Wylie was a defense attorney he briefly represented Kulakov.
Click here to read the story in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican newspaper