MICHIGAN HISTORY: The 1975 Jackson Prison Helicopter Escape
One of the most talked-about prison escapes happened here in Michigan.
It occurred on the morning of June 6, 1975 a little after 10:00 am.
A helicopter boldly flew over the prison walls, and briefly landed near the stamping plant...but long enough for one of the prisoners to climb aboard and soar to freedom.
The 'copter pilot had been ambushed by several hijackers and forced to fly into the prison yard, where it landed near the old schoolhouse at M-106 and Meridian Road. A few people - male and female - jumped out of the copter and raced to automobiles that had been placed and waiting. However, to ensure some extra time, they sprayed mace in the pilot's face...in doing so, one of the men missed his opportunity to get away in a vehicle. That man was the con who escaped, Dale Remling, a very clever con man.
On foot, Remling spent the next day-and-a-half making a 12-mile trek to Leslie as he hid from passing vehicles and tried to stay out of sight from neighbors. Once in Leslie, Remling decided to visit the local bar to relax and get some refreshment.
That was his mistake.
State Trooper William Flowers picked him up with no hassle. It seemed that Remling was more satisfied with his successful escape (his third) rather than remaining free, as his smile never seemed to leave his face as he and the trooper carried on a nice conversation while waiting to be taken away.
Remling knew how to win friends and was a well-liked inmate. After being sent to the penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, he was editor of the prison newsletter, joined a prison country band called The Tear Drops, and was pitcher for the softball team.
Upon his release on Sept. 13, 1993, he lived the rest of his life in Bakersfield, California until he passed away on July 2, 1999, just a couple of days before he turned 71.