A man with a history of robbing banks pleaded guilty Friday, Oct. 21 to an August heist in Sand Lake that ended when he crashed his getaway car while being chased by police.
Edward Ray Lucas admitted to robbing the Independent Bank in Sand Lake on Aug. 18. He suffered a broken leg in a crash on Post Drive NE while fleeing police.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ellen S. Carmody took the guilty plea, which still has to be accepted by Judge Paul L. Maloney. Lucas is facing up to 20 years in federal prison.
Lucas, 37, was barely out of his teen years when he was arrested for robbing two West Michigan banks. The 1999 bank robberies in Montcalm and Mecosta counties earned Lucas concurrent prison sentences of between 26 months and 10 years.
After getting out of state prison for the bank robbery convictions, Lucas found himself back in trouble in Dec. 2001 when he was arrested for assaulting a woman at a home on College Avenue just south of Michigan Street NE.
He was on parole at the time. Lucas pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit great bodily harm and was sentenced in May, 2002 to between 6-¼ and 10 years in prison.
Lucas was discharged from parole in March, 2011 and had been living in the Sparta area.
Investigators say Lucas entered the Independent Bank at 5 Third St. NE in Sand Lake about 4:30 p.m. Aug. 18 wearing a baseball hat, dark sunglasses and a brown shirt, according to a criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Donald W. Whitt III.
“The robber handed the teller a manila envelope that had words to the following effect: ‘100s, 50s, 20s. No dye packs,’’’ Whitt wrote in the criminal complaint.
The teller handed over $5,500 from her teller drawers. The robber took the envelope and cash and fled through the bank’s south doors. He was seen getting into a silver Chevy Impala, according to the criminal complaint.
When a Kent County sheriff’s deputy tried to stop his vehicle in Cedar Springs, police say Lucas fled on southbound U.S. 131, exited at Post Drive NE and eventually crashed.
A Michigan State Police detective who witnessed the crash said it appeared as though his car deliberately strayed across the centerline to collide head-on with a westbound car.
The accident involved three cars; Lucas was the most seriously hurt.