By Bernie Woodall
DETROIT (Reuters) - A man about to be sentenced for armed robbery stabbed a deputy sheriff several times in the neck with a plastic comb, stole his uniform and vanished from a Detroit courthouse on Monday, authorities said.
Police believe the man rode seven floors down a prisoner transfer elevator and escaped from the rear of the courthouse and then stole a minivan after forcing the woman driver from the vehicle. Law enforcement officials were still searching for the man in early afternoon after the morning escape.
Abraham Pearson, 25, who also is known as Derreck White, was facing 10 to 15 years in prison after being convicted August 26 of carjacking, armed robbery, unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle and weapons charges, according to court and jail electronic records.
Wayne County Sheriff's spokesman Dennis Niemiec said Pearson had a lengthy criminal history and was on parole. The van was found abandoned about two miles from the courthouse, Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters.
A spokesman for DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital said the deputy has been treated and discharged from the hospital.
The deputy, Harrison Tolliver, 63, is a retired Detroit police officer who joined the sheriff's office last December, the sheriff's office said.
He was transferring three prisoners, including Pearson, to a holding cell on Monday morning, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said.
As he took the handcuffs off Pearson to put him in the cell, Pearson attacked him with a plastic comb that had been sharpened into a weapon, Napoleon said.
Pearson handcuffed the deputy and took part of his uniform, his keys, cell phone and radio, the sheriff's office said. The other two prisoners did not intervene or leave the cell during the attack.
(Additional reporting by Steve Neavling; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)
(This story was refiled to clarify subject of search in the second paragraph)