Police said Wednesday a computer error helped set off a massive search for a suspect in an Alabama abortion clinic bombing when the driver of a truck that was stopped for a routine traffic violation raced away from a patrol car.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman said the suspect's vehicle was impounded by police in Birmingham, Ala., but was still listed in a central computer system of property and persons wanted by federal authorities.Police told reporters that an officer who checked the license number of a small pickup truck he had pulled over on a routine traffic stop Tuesday night apparently misread the number.
When the number was entered into a computer it matched a number in a national database of vehicles actively sought by the FBI.
The computer flashed a message saying the license plate belonged to a truck owned by Eric Rudolph, who is still a fugitive suspect in the Alabama bombing. Unknown to the Denver police, Rudolph's truck was impounded by authorities weeks ago in Alabama.
Before the Denver officer could confirm the identity of the driver of the truck he had stopped, the truck raced away, leaving the patrol car behind.