It's like something out of your typical rock ’n’ roll playbook, a rock star on the lam for jumping parole. But in the sad case of 24-year-old Ronald “Ronnie” Radke, the former lead singer of popular local punk band Escape the Fate, substitute typical for tragic. The singer was taken into custody Monday afternoon after failing to check in with his probation officer and ending his nearly two-month run from the law. Radke currently is in custody at the Clark County Detention Center.
Calling him a "post-hardcore fugitive rocker," the U.S Marshals Fugitive Investigative Strike Team apprehended Radke Monday night at the intersection of Arroyo Grande Drive and Sunset Road around 5 p.m. According to officer Debbie Lupe, a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation division, a warrant for the former singer’s arrest was issued April 23 after he failed to communicate with the office since March 13. “We had been communicating with him, but we lost repeated contact shortly after,” Lupe said.
Law enforcement apparently had no leads on Radke’s whereabouts until his KVVU Channel 5 (Fox 5) broadcast his fugitive status on its 10 p.m. news program on June 12. According to the U.S. Marshals press release, tips then began pouring in immediately. More than likely, Lupe says, Radke’s status as a popular former singer and his popularity allowed him to avoid arrest temporarily as he could hide with the aid of friends or fans.
Also, according to the release, Radke had been soliciting friends and fans for money so he could apparently "re-form" his group after the band split with the singer in January. (Ex-blessthefall frontman Craig Mabbitt has since been installed as Escape the Fate’s new vocalist.)
The Marshals press release indicated that authorities believe it is doubtful has been used to fuel any musical endeavors for the former singer, and instead has most likely been used to fuel the singer's documented narcotics abuse problems. A representative with California-based Epitaph Records -- Escape the Fate’s record label -- declined comment on the case.
A source close to the situation who wished to remain nameless says Radke's issues with drug abuse are widely known and problematic, especially leading up to the days before his arrest. Radke has been arrested numerous times for narcotics possession since 2006.
During his January sentencing for his part in a May 2006 desert fight that left 18-year-old Las Vegan Michael Cook dead, District Court Judge Donald Mosley required Radke to enroll in a drug rehabilitation program as a condition of his probation. Mosley stated that any violation of Radke's suspended 48-month sentence would result in Radke's immediate incarceration.
Radke started Escape the Fate with bassist Max Green in 2005 and released one EP, No Sympathy for the Dead, in May, 2006 and one full-length album, Dying Is Your Latest Fashion, in September 2006.