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Report: Seat-belt stop nabs private who went AWOL in 2008

Apr. 23, 2014 - 03:12PM   |  
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If you’re thinking about deserting, remember: Safety first.

A private who allegedly went absent without leave from his unit in December 2008 saw his five-plus-year absence end suddenly Friday when a Kentucky state trooper pulled him over in Keavy — about halfway between Lexington and Knoxville, Tenn. — for driving without a seat belt, according to The Sentinel-Echo newspaper.

A federal warrant for Pvt. Glen D. Turner’s arrest had been issued in January 2009, the paper said. Turner reportedly served with the 551st Signal Battalion.

Turner’s been processed at Fort Sill and is on “excess leave status awaiting his discharge,” a spokeswoman at Fort Sill said in an email.

Turner’s absence was about half as long as that of Kevin Shakely, a Sacramento, Calif., man who left his post in 2004 at what was then Fort Lewis, Wash. He was caught in 2006 but escaped custody, then called a Sacramento TV station in 2013 to blame his desertion on a clerical error — and lie about his service record, according to a report in The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune.

Shakely pleaded guilty in February to desertion, obstructing justice and making false official statements, according to the report, and was sentenced to a year in jail.

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