Subscriber login

Welcome to our new site. You will need to reset your password if this is your first time logging in. Please click here to reset your password.
News
School Closings
Academy at Rensselaer Education Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsAcademy of the Holy Names: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements & Kids Express Mplwood: Delayed 2 Hrs, no before careAchievements St Kateri Tekakwitha: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements and Kids Express TBGC: Delayed 2 HrsAdirondack Enrichment: Delayed Until 12:30pAesthetic Science Institute: Delayed 2 Hrs, Classes begin at 11 amAlbany Leadership Charter High: Delayed 2 HrsAmbleside School: Delayed 2 HrsAmsterdam City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastAmsterdam Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAn Nur Islamic School: Delayed 2 HrsAndes CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArgyle CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArkville Head Start: ClosedAugustine Classical Academy: ClosedAustin's School of Spa Technology: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAverill Park CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESAverill Park Pre School: Delayed 3 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, No AM PgmBallston Spa CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBattenkill Community Services: Closed, Hockey game still on, will call with timesBennington County Meals: Open, Home delivery delayed Cafe openBerkshire Country Day School: Delayed 2 HrsBerlin CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBerne-Knox-Westerlo CSD: Closed, Offices are closed.Best Fitness (Schenectady): Delayed, No Morning Classes, Club Open No morning classes classes resume 430pBethlehem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESBethlehem Children's School: Delayed 2 HrsBluebirds' Nest Preschool: ClosedBroadalbin-Perth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No PTECH, AgTECH, TEC-SMARTBrown School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Morning PLUS ProgramBrunswick (Brittonkill) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBrunswick Children's Academy: Delayed 2 HrsBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, 2-hour delay (final)Butterfly Dreams Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9:30 amCOARC Adult Transportation: Delayed 2 HrsCairo-Durham CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESCalvary Preschool: ClosedCanajoharie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESCapital Reg Career & Tech (Albany): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESCatholic Central HS: Delayed 2 HrsCatholic Schools Office: Delayed 2 Hrs, Principals Meeting at 10:30Catskill CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KCenter For Early Learning: ClosedChatham CSD: Delayed 2 HrsChatham Kids Club: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 8:30Childhood Friends Inc.: Delayed, We will open at 9:00am for All children today!Christ Our Light Catholic Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, Office opening & Adoration delayed 2 hrs. Morning services cancelledChrist the King Early Childhood Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, All programs open @ 9:30 AMChristian Brothers Academy: ClosedCircle Of Friends (Delmar): Delayed 2 Hrs, Wrap around delayed 2 hoursCircle of Friends (Ravena): Delayed 2 Hrs, 2.5 hour class is closed 5 hour classes delayedCobleskill Campus Child Care Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9AMCobleskill-Richmondville CSD: Closed, Offices Open at 9 a.m.Cohoes City SD: Delayed 2 HrsColonie Youth Centers: Open, No BSPColumbia Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsCommunity Library Cobleskill, NY: ClosedCooperstown CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESCorinth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastCoxsackie-Athens CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastCrossFit Schenectady: Delayed, No Morning ClassesCrossroads Center for Children: Delayed 2 Hrs, Day Care open @ 9:00Crown Point CSD: Delayed 2 HrsDelaware Academy CSD at Delhi: Delayed 2 HrsDoane Stuart School: Delayed 2 HrsDolgeville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastDoors of Hope: Delayed 1 HrDuanesburg CSD: ClosedEarly Childhood Learning Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Center: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Ctr-Troy: Delayed 2 HrsEast Greenbush CSD: Delayed 2 HrsEco Baby Daycare & Preschool: Delayed 2 HrsEdinburg Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsExecutive Woods Childcare: Delayed 2 HrsFaith Bible Academy: Delayed 2 HrsFirst Friends Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, Enrichment program begins at 1130amFonda-Fultonville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESFort Plain CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, Elem recognition breakfast moved to ThursdayFranklin County Technical SD: Delayed 2 HrsFulmont St Johnsville Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportFulton-Montgomery CC: Delayed 2 Hrs, Campus will open at 10 am.Gabriel Abbott Memorial School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No morning daycareGalway CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGeorge Washington School: Delayed 2 HrsGermantown CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGilboa-Conesville CSD: ClosedGlens Falls City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESGlens Falls Common SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGlens Falls Head Start Center: Delayed 2 HrsGloversville City SD: Delayed 2 HrsGood Ground Christian School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, Afterschool program onlyGrapeville Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsGreen Island UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGreen Tech High Charter School: Delayed 2 HrsGreenberg Child Care Center: Delayed Until 9:30aGreenbush Child Caring: Open, No AM ProgramGreene County YMCA: Open, No Morning ClassesGreenfield Public Schools: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KGreenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGreenwich CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESGuilderland CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESHFM Career & Tech Center: Delayed 2 HrsHadley-Luzerne CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastHappy Kids Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsHawthorne Valley School: Delayed 2 HrsHelderberg Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsHelping Hands Pre-School: Delayed, No Morning ClassesHoly Spirit School (East G'Bush): Delayed 2 HrsHometown Health Center: Delayed 2 HrsHoosick Falls CSD: Delayed 2 HrsHope 7 Community Center: Open, 9am-6pm, Reg. After School Food Pantry Open9:30a-11:45Hudson City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No tutoring centerHunter-Tannersville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESIchabod Crane (Kinderhook) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsImmaculate Conception (Glenville): Open, 9:00 am mass cancelledIndian Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No BreakfastInlet Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsJohnstown City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESJubilee Child Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsKid Kampus: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 8:30AMKidsFirst Childcare Center: Delayed 2 HrsKim's Kids Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastKingsbury Seventh-day Adventist Sch: Delayed 2 HrsKingston City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, Kingston SD is on a 2 hr delay no AM BOCESLa Salle Institute (Troy): Delayed 2 HrsLakeside Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolLansingburgh CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Breakfast, Lansingburgh CSD is operating on a 2 hour delayLatham Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KLearning To Know Educational Center: Delayed 1-1/2 HrsLexington Center Fulton Co ARC: Open, No TransportationLiberty Ent/ Montgomery Co. ARC: Delayed 2 HrsLife Kids Before/ After School: Open, No AM ProgramLifeSong Inc (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLil' Lambs Christian Daycare Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsLit'l Steps Pre-School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLittle Feet Daycare Center: Delayed 2 HrsLittle Tot Nursery School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLiving Res DCOP (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLong Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastLoudonville Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsMalta Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Toddler Class, No Toddler ClassMargaretville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsMayfield CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastMechanicville City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMekeel Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-SchoolMenands UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMiddleburgh CSD: ClosedMillbrook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsMohawk Trail Regional SD: Delayed 2 HrsMohonasen CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESMontessori School (Schenectady): Delayed, No AM Program, opens at noon, School will open at noon for PM programming.Montgomery County Office for Aging: Delayed 2 Hrs, Advisory Council cancelledMorning Star Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, stay tuned, be safeMother Teresa Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am nursery program, School opens at 9:45amMountain Road School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Before School Care.Mt Moriah Academy: Delayed 2 HrsMyers Education Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delayN. Greenbush Little Red School: Delayed 2 HrsNew Lebanon CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNew Paltz CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Malta: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Queensbury: Delayed 2 HrsNiskayuna CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorthville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastNotre Dame-Bishop Gibbons: Delayed 2 HrsO.K. Kids, Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsOak Hill School: Delayed 2 HrsOhav Shalom Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, No am care for Ohav Shalom school starts at 930 staff report 900 amOnteora CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESOppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESOur Lady of Victory Early Childhood: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KOur Savior's Lutheran School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-SchoolOur World Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 10:45 a.m.Owen D. Young CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESParsons Early Head Start Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMParsons Early Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMPerth Bible Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsPine Plains CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESPineview Comm Church Pre-School: Delayed 1 Hr, open at 8:30Prospect Center: Delayed 2 HrsPumpkin Patch (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsQueensbury UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESQuestar III BOCES - Sarah's Sisters: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Catskill Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Columbia-Green Ed Ctr: Delayed, No AM BOCES, 2 HR DelayQuestar III Rensselaer Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Rensselaer Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, Q3 New Vision is closedQuestar III Sackett Educational Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsRavena-Coeymans-Selkirk CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESRed Hook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRensselaer City SD: Delayed 2 HrsRhinebeck CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRiverRun Community Montessori: ClosedRoots and Wings Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, No before care. Open 9:30Rosa Venerini Early Childhood Cente: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am classes or beforecare School opens at 11amRoxbury CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, RCS is now delayed 2 hrs - roads are in worse shape then expected. Stay off the side roads until treated , drive carefully today January 18Sacred Heart School (Troy): Delayed 2 Hrs, TSL will open at 9:00amSalem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastSaratoga Academy Arts & Science: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga Bridges: Delayed 1 HrSaratoga Central Catholic HS: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga County Senior Meals: ClosedSaratoga Independent School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No Before CareSaratoga Springs City SD: Delayed 2 HrsSaugerties CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchalmont CSD: Closed, Level 1 ClosureSchenectady City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSchenectady Jewish CC Day Care: Delayed, Opening at 8:30 amSchenevus CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchodack CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchoharie CSD: ClosedSchoharie Career and Technical Scho: ClosedSchoharie County ARC: Open, Buses on Snow Routes, Staff report regular time Public bus aides report regular timeSchoharie County Com. Action Prg.: Delayed 2 HrsSchoharie Cty Child Dvp Cobleskill: Closed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Head Start, HS & EHS closedSchoharie Cty HeadStart (Schoharie): Closed, HS & EHS closedSchool's Out, Inc.: Open, No AM ProgramSchuylerville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastScotia-Glenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSharon Springs CSD: ClosedShenendehowa CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM BOCESShooting Stars Nursery & After Sch.: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Will open at 9amSkidmore Early Childhood Center: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolSouth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouth Glens Falls CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouthern Adirondack Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delaySouthern Berkshire Regional SD: ClosedSpa Christian School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-KSpotted Zebra Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, SZ opens at 9:30 Program begins at 10:30 K Program begins at 11:00St Ambrose School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM PgmSt Anne Institute: Delayed 1-1/2 Hrs, Staff Report, No Trans, No school for day service StudentsSt Clement's Regional Catholic Sch: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-SchoolSt Edward's Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Mass and morning activitiesSt George's School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, AEP will begin at 11 amSt Gregory School: ClosedSt Jude the Apostle School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Kateri Tekakwitha School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No BreakfastSt Madeleine Sophie Pre-School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Madeleine Sophie School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Academy (Hoosick Falls): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Institute ES (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's School (Ballston Spa): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Before Care open at 8:00 amSt Mary's School (Waterford): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Mary's-St Alphonsus Rgnl Cath: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Pre-K No AM Camp KerrySt Mary's/St Alphonsus Noah's Ark: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9:45St Paul's Childhood Center: Open, No AM Pre-K, Part-day room closed only. Extended-day rooms open.St Pius X School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Stephen's Pre-K Acad (Delmar): Closed, No preschool today. After school enrichments are on until further notice.St Thomas the Apostle School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KStepping Stone Pre & DCC (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsStillwater CSD: Delayed 2 HrsStory Place Preschool: Delayed, Open at 10, before care closedStorybook Academy: ClosedSullivan BOCES: Delayed 2 Hrs, The Adult Program and Offices will open at 10 amSunshine Kids Corner: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9AMSusan Odell Taylor School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No coffee hourTLC Christian Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastTaconic Hills CSD: Delayed 2 HrsTech Valley High School: Closed, Staff report at 10 AM.Temple Israel Nursery and Day Care: Open, No early drop off School starts at 9:00The Albany Academies (AA & AAG): ClosedThe Beagle School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-School, All AM programs closedThe Downtown School: Delayed 2 HrsThe King's School: ClosedTiny Tots Early Learning Center: Closed, No AM Pre-School, No AM Preschool PM TBDTri-Village Nursery School: ClosedTroy City SD: Delayed 2 HrsTroy Prep: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Elementary School: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Middle High School: Delayed 2 HrsUMC Daycare Norton Hill: Delayed 1 Hr, No AM Pre-KUnlimited Potential, Inc: Delayed 1 HrVictory Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsVoorheesville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastWSWHE BOCES - Gick Road: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 moth offices 2 hour delayWWAARC—Albany & Queensbury: Delayed 1 Hr, Staff Report Regular TimeWaldorf School (Saratoga Springs): Delayed 2 Hrs, No 2 day PreKWarren Street Academy - The Bridge: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWashington County Nutrition Program: Closed, No Senior Meal Sites ; No Home Delivered MealsWaterford-Halfmoon UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWatervliet City SD: Delayed 2 HrsWebutuck (Northeast) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsWesley Evergreen Adult Day Program: Delayed 2 HrsWest Canada Valley CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESWheelerville UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsWhispering Pines (Cobleskill): ClosedWhispering Pines - Schoharie UPK: ClosedWhispering Pines Pre Sc (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Pre-sch (Delanson): ClosedWhispering Pines Presch - Boulevard: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Preschool at Meco: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWilton Baptist Academy: Delayed 2 HrsWindham-Ashland-Jewett CSD: ClosedWonderland Nursery School: ClosedWoodland Hill Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, Delayed 2 hours . No early care. No toddler AM session, delayed 2 hours. No early care. No toddler AM sessionWorcester CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWynantskill UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsYMCA (Bethlehem): Open, No Morning ClassesYMCA (East Greenbush): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9am, Before School Care 6:45amYMCA (Greater Glenville): Open, No AM classes before noon.. No babysitting before noon.YMCA (Guilderland): Open, No AM Pre-School, No Morning Classes, No AM branch childcareYMCA (Schenectady): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch Closed for AMYMCA (Troy): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9amYMCA Southern Saratoga: Open, No Morning ClassesYWCA of Schenectady Children's Ctrs: Delayed, YWCA child care @SCCC delay Until 8am. WA site delayed Until 9am

20 years after escape, O’Keefe recounts time ‘on the lam’

20 years after escape, O’Keefe recounts time ‘on the lam’

Joel O’Keefe was the subject of one of the most extensive manhunts in Capital Region history in 1994
20 years after escape, O’Keefe recounts time ‘on the lam’
Joel O'Keefe is moved to a state police car outside Troop G headquarters in Loudonville on Oct. 7, 1994, one day after his capture in Bennington, Vt.

Timeline

Fri. Sept. 23: While returning to the Saratoga County jail from a Washington County Court arraignment on weapons and marijuana charges, O’Keefe bolts from an unmarked state police car near routes 50 and 67 in Ballston. The manhunt begins with a 3-square-mile search area.

Sat. Sept. 24: Police expand the search to a 7-square-mile area that stretches towards Malta.

Sun. Sept. 25: Reports of a possible sighting extend the search into Malta. According to O’Keefe, he was in Salem.

Mon. Sept. 26: Police reveal the police car O’Keefe was in was not locked, he was not wearing a seat belt and he was cuffed in front of his body instead of behind his back.

Tues. Sept. 27: Police search around the Geyser Crest area in Saratoga Springs after a reported sighting. A Jeep stolen Sept. 24 from a Saratoga Springs driveway surfaces in Salem.

Wed. Sept. 28: An Air Force helicopter is brought in, later replaced by one from the U.S. Customs Service, to assist in an aerial search.

Thurs. Sept. 29: Bad weather: O’Keefe later said he stole a heavy coat to ward off the cold. The search continues in the Milton, Ballston and Saratoga Springs areas.

Fri. Sept. 30: An effort to bait O’Keefe with a slow-moving freight train proves unsuccessful.

Sun. Oct. 2: The search moves into Wilton, in case O’Keefe was heading toward the Adirondacks.

Mon. Oct. 3: Police reveal O’Keefe had been questioned about unsolved homicides in Saratoga and Washington counties. O’Keefe continues to maintain he had no involvement.

Tues., Oct. 4: The search moves into the Adirondack Park after a reported sighting in Corinth. O’Keefe is in Vermont.

Thurs. Oct. 6: O’Keefe is captured late at night when a Subway restaurant clerk calls Bennington police after the fugitive places an order. Earlier in the day, New York State Police announced it planned to scale back the search.

Sources: Gazette archives; O'Keefe interview

Truth be told, Joel O’Keefe isn’t even a big fan of meatball subs. He hasn’t had one in 20 years, since that fateful October 1994 night in Bennington, Vt.

“It was never my favorite food, just a convenient item to order,” he said.

It was making that Thursday night order at a Subway restaurant that got O’Keefe captured Oct. 6, 1994, two weeks after he escaped from state police custody. His apprehension capped 14 days of angst for Capital Region residents — there were 400 reported “sightings” — and 14 days of frustration for law enforcement, as his arrest ended one of the most extensive manhunts in Capital Region history.

“I should have gone to New Mexico,” O’Keefe told Vermont authorities after his capture.

O’Keefe is in the Attica Correctional Facility now, up for parole again this week. Three thwarted escape attempts in prison, as well as numerous other infractions while locked up, will likely keep him incarcerated.

“One can be quite well-prepared for life on the outside, which I feel I am after over 20

long years and this being my fourth parole appearance, yet still get ‘hit’ by the board,” O’Keefe said recently in a series of letters exchanged with The Gazette (the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision rejected a request for an in-person interview). “While I would very much like to go home, they’ll likely hit me with more time.”

Had O’Keefe never jumped out of a state police car and kept a relatively clean record in prison, he probably would have been a free man by now.

“I would’ve done a whole lot less time, perhaps only five to 10 years instead of over 20,” O’Keefe said. “It has turned out to be a poor choice in the long run.”

And a long run he had.

On Sept. 23, 1994, while returning to the Saratoga County jail after an arraignment on weapons and marijuana charges in Washington County Court, O’Keefe bolted from an unmarked — and unlocked — state police car near routes 50 and 67 in Ballston. According to authorities, O’Keefe “ran as fast as he could, as far as he could.”

O’Keefe, then a 34-year-old whose criminal record dated back to 1981 in California, was also facing first-degree burglary, larceny, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment charges after taking a woman at knifepoint in her Round Lake home. He made the woman’s young daughter stay in a closet.

Police transporting him back to jail made three critical errors: The car was unlocked, O’Keefe was not seat-belted in and his hands were cuffed in the front.

“The two who were transporting me to and from court that day were decent guys and since it was a long drive to the courthouse they let me ride cuffed in the front after I suggested that it would be quite uncomfortable to ride otherwise,” O’Keefe said. “My ’94 escape was truly a ‘spur of the moment’ thing, as we were just sitting there at the red light and I decided to make my exit.”

The investigators accompanying O’Keefe were later suspended for 30 days without pay.

“It was embarrassing,” said Lloyd R. “Bud” Wilson Jr., a state police major and Troop G commander at the time. “We took responsibility.”

Retired state police Capt. William Sickinger recently scoffed at O’Keefe’s “spur of the moment” assertion, stating the fugitive reached out to relatives and had previously stashed cash on their properties.

“I’m certain he was a man of opportunity,” Sickinger said, “but there was a plan — always a plan.”

It was a long, tense 14 days for authorities and a nervous public. Wilson, now retired from the state police, said last week authorities believed O’Keefe was involved in other unsolved crimes, including murder, an allegation O’Keefe denies. No charges were ever filed against him in those other cases.

“We suspected that he was involved in many, many other things,” Wilson said. “That was our biggest concern. He was a really, really bad guy.”

For two weeks, state police, aided by local agencies and, at times, federal authorities, combed an ever-widening search area. Many residents were on edge, but some cast O’Keefe as a sort of outlaw folk hero. T-shirts were made in his honor, and some said they would leave food out for him.

“As for people seeing me as a folk hero: Well, maybe so, but there have been lots of folks who are far more rightly deserving of this title than I,” O’Keefe said. “I really don’t see myself as any sort of ‘hero’ at all.”

Theresa Hempel of Argyle still stays in touch with O’Keefe, who was a friend of the family.

“My parents worshipped him,” she said. “I had two brothers killed in car accidents when they were young. I guess Joel reminded [my father] of them. He seems like a real kind-hearted person to me.”

O’Keefe said that on Day 3 on the run he walked into an old barn in Salem, shook the dust off an old heavy coat he saw hanging on the timber and stole it to ward off the cold. More importantly, he said, he found a pair of bolt cutters to finally remove his handcuffs. O’Keefe made his way to Bennington, where he said he bought clothes at a Salvation Army store. He also did some sightseeing, as if just another tourist.

“Bennington was a great little town to hide out in,” O’Keefe said. “It’s full of Revolutionary War history, and I walked among the tombstones of soldiers killed in the late 1770s in the old cemetery. I also visited the 300-foot obelisk. ... My lair was an old coach house in the historic district.

“I planned to only stay for a short time and was contemplating my next move.”

That move never came. O’Keefe stopped in a Subway restaurant, and a clerk who had seen him earlier in the day on television called authorities.

O’Keefe was arrested without incident; the following month he was transported back to Saratoga County, shackled and then some, and accompanied by five investigators. The doors were locked.

O’Keefe said he takes no pride in being on the run as long as he was in 1994.

“For one, two weeks on the ‘lam’ really isn’t very long,” he said. “Also, while it took a bit of resourcefulness to be able to do it, if I’d instead used that same resourcefulness to do something ‘legit’ I would’ve been much better off today.”

The Argyle man’s time in prison has been marked by three escape attempts and two dozen other infractions, adding hard time.

“I've been ‘down,’ as they say, for 20 long years now and I’ve definitely done much harder time than I otherwise would have, had I not spent so many years in the ‘Special Housing Unit’ (‘SHU’) in solitary or segregation as a result of my escape back in ’94, as well as a later attempt,” O’Keefe said.

“Looking back, I would say I didn’t exercise good judgment because I ended up both doing many years — about 18 altogether — in the SHU, plus I had more total years added to my sentence.”

At his previous parole hearing in August 2012 at the Elmira Correctional Facility, O’Keefe told a parole commission that “even though I was actually, you know, convicted of what is technically considered a violent crime, I don’t have any violence on my record.” Predictably, that did not go over well.

“Listen, burglary is a VFO [violent felony offense] and sodomy, I think your victims would agree, forcing a women to perform sodomy is a violent act in anybody’s book,” one of the two commissioners replied.

With time tacked on for his escape attempts in 2000 and 2001, there is a possibility O’Keefe could remain in prison until July 2023 — provided he is not convicted of any other crimes. He would be 63 years old.

Wilson said he hopes O’Keefe never gets out. If he does, though, the first thing the former man on the run would like to do is have a home-cooked meal. O’Keefe has a dream menu: eggplant Parmesan, stir-fried veggies, rice, lobster, scallops and shrimp, with a garden salad and pie for dessert.

He is not interested in fast food.

View Comments
Hide Comments
You have 0 articles 1 articles 2 articles 3 articles 4 articles 5 articles 6 articles 7 articles remaining of Daily Gazette free premium content.

You have reached your monthly premium content limit.

Continue to enjoy Daily Gazette premium content by becoming a subscriber.
Already a subscriber? Log In