Exclusive Interview With Middle Tennessee's 'Little Houdini'
Christopher Daniel Gay
by Nick Beres
CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. - Christopher Daniel Gay is known as the Little Houdini. In a NewsChannel 5 exclusive, he talks about his life as an escape artist.
Gay said he's escaped from police eight times over the years. He never used a weapon and never hurt anyone, but he always seems to get away. A song has been written about him and he's become something of a folk hero.
"When I look back on it -- the things I've done like the escapes. It was chicken on my part. I should have been man enough to do my time," said Gay.
Gay now sits in the Cheatham County jail. He never escaped from there. But he got away from others -- usually during transports.
"It's willpower and people letting their guard down," said Gay.
Gay is best known for escaping and stealing country star Crystal Gayle's tour bus two years ago.
"You know I don't know how the bus was stolen. I guess you just drive away," said Gayle at the time.
Gay said he needed the wheels after an escape to go visit his dying mother in Cheatham County.
"I wanted to see her because she wouldn't have long," said Gay.
Gay then drove the tour bus south. Surveillance video showed him pulling in to Dayton International Speedway claiming to be the driver for NASCAR star Tony Stewart. Police eventually caught him, but Gay escaped again while being brought back to Tennessee.
This time he stole a tractor-trailer rig with a load from Wal-Mart.
"I've always been fascinated with trucks," said Gay.
But he learned you can't outrun the law. He said the moment you escape is exciting, but the feeling doesn't last. Gay said life on the run gets old.
"It's living hell. You don't know what's going to happen. At any moment you can go back to jail." said Gay.
And Gay always did with an eye toward giving police the slip again.
"They keep me locked down and shackled down and I wanted to show them things could be done," said Gay.
But he's done escaping.
"I looked in the mirror," said Gay. "I'm getting old. If I hadn't done the stupid things I've done in the past I would have been home years ago."
Gay hopes to get out of jail in the next five years and be more of a father to his two children.
He doesn't like the nicknames or the song written about him. But Gay admits his antics have drawn attention. In fact, a production company is scheduled to begin shooting a movie about his life next year.