Dustin Lankster, 31, pled guilty Monday to flight to avoid prosecution, child abuse and first-offense driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, after he caused widespread alarm in Sutherland in mid-November.The guilty plea was part of a deal with the county attorney’s office in which other charges were dropped.
Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands told Lankster he is fortunate to get a favorable offer from the county attorney, considering there was a child involved.
Lankster caused an uproar in Sutherland that began around 5:20 p.m. Nov. 14 when a Nebraska State trooper conducted a traffic stop. Lankster sped off after the trooper asked for his ID.
He drove the car through a residential fence and got away.
Later, the trooper found the car south of the school in the parking lot of the Methodist Church, but Lankster, who was also wanted in Tennessee, had run away on foot.
A woman, April M. Crowley, 31, of Wahoo was in the car along with a 5-year old child.
A Code Red warning was issued, advising residents to lock the doors. A description of Lankster was included, warning that he was potentially dangerous.
At 5:45 p.m., a Sutherland resident called 911 to say that a man fitting the description was trying to get into a car outside his house.
Lankster was found soon afterwards, hiding in backyard of home just southeast of high school. He was unarmed.
In court, Rowlands sentenced Lankster to 360 days in jail for the flight and child abuse, as well as 60 days, a $500 fine and two-year revocation of his driver’s license for DUI.
He was also ordered to pay restitution of $208.23 to a landowner whose fence was damaged.
Rowlands ordered him to either pay or sit out the court costs. The two sentences will run concurrently and he receives credit for 145 days served in jail since his arrest.
Prior to the Sutherland uproar, Lankster had been released June 25 from the Nebraska State Penitentiary for theft and meth possession, after serving nearly four years in prison.