Truck driver recounts kidnapping ordeal to New Mexico jury

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 8/22/2013

A truck driver who was kidnapped at gunpoint while he and his co-driver were switching seats testified about his five-hour hostage ordeal on Tuesday, Aug. 20, as part of the ongoing capital murder trial involving one of the suspects, John McCluskey.

The truck driver testified that he and another driver were allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint near Kingman, Ariz., in late July 2010, by two escaped Arizona State Prison inmates including McCluskey, Tracy Province and an accomplice, Casslyn Welch, who allegedly threw wire cutters over the prison fence to help the inmates escape.

The trucker who testified has requested to remain unnamed in the press.

The drivers were forced in the back of the cab while McCluskey allegedly drove their rig to Flagstaff, Ariz., where they were then released after the trio secured another vehicle.

McCluskey was indicted on 20 charges, including conspiracy to commit carjacking resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death and murder of a witness. He was also indicted for the alleged carjacking and murder of Gary and Linda Haas.  The couple was parked at a rest area off Interstate 40 in Quay County, N.M., on Aug. 2, 2010, when they were fatally shot. Province and Welch are both cooperating with the government in the case against McCluskey. They claim the trio then drove the Haas’ truck and travel trailer to a remote location and unhitched and burned the trailer with the couple’s bodies inside.

Province and Welch have pleaded guilty to their roles in the murders of the Oklahoma couple, but both assert that McCluskey pulled the trigger. Province pleaded guilty to nine of 13 charges. He will be sentenced to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of release, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation release.

Welch, who was McCluskey’s fiancée and cousin, pleaded guilty to eight charges and faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, according to her plea deal.

McCluskey and Welch were known as the “Bonnie and Clyde” fugitives after eluding a multi-law enforcement manhunt for nearly three weeks. During this time, law enforcement urged truck drivers to be on high alert because McCluskey and Welch both had experience as over-the-road truck drivers and may have been hiding out at truck stops or rest areas.

The couple was arrested while camping at the edge of the Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests in Springerville, Ariz., on Aug. 19, 2010. Province, who had separated from the group earlier, was arrested in Wyoming on Aug. 9, 2010.

See related articles:
Law enforcement nabs ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ fugitives in Arizona
Truckers urged to be on alert for ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ fugitives

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