Kidnapped! Johnny Allison Describes Shocking Incident That Changed His Life

by John Haman and David Smith  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

In June 1997, a man walked into the Conway office of Spirit Mobile Homes and kidnapped Johnny Allison. “It changed my whole complexion on life,” Allison said. “My calendar was booked that week and I had lots of things to do, and suddenly nothing was important.” The wife of Allison’s friend Alex Lieblong, inset, had previously been kidnapped by Slack.

“During those hours, we were planning how to steal my money, if that makes any sense.”

The plan that Allison finally related over the telephone to an employee was that he was going to buy some mobile homes from a man named James and that James didn’t want to deal with banks.

“Somebody was sent to pick up the money and was bringing it to me ... and I knew that my chances were better before I had the money than after.”

On the way to pick up the money, Allison says, he decided to steer his car into the dump truck. Allison says he was thinking, “’If you’re going to die, you might as well die here, and you might live.’ I really never feared death. I thought I might hurt myself ... but I thought I might hurt him, too.”

Both men were hurt in the crash. Slack ran away from the scene, and Allison’s injuries ultimately required 30 stitches to one eye and 15 or so in one hand.

After the crash, Allison says, he went home and picked up his family, got his wounds stitched and flew out of the area in his airplane. Since then, Allison has kept a low profile with the media.

Not Getting Involved

Allison says he won’t try to get too involved with Slack’s prosecution, and won’t push for an especially stiff sentence. “I probably would have, had he threatened my wife and family,” he says.

Allison also shed some light on another one of the mysteries surrounding the kidnapping. In recent stories, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has quoted sources as saying that Slack presented himself at Allison’s office as Bill Lewis, a convicted drug dealer whose sentence commutation earlier this year by Gov. Mike Huckabee created a controversy. Since then, many have wondered why Slack would have used such an alias to gain access to Allison.

Lewis is the son of Tommy Lewis, who owns the Lewis Livestock Auction in Conway, Allison points out, and Allison and Tommy Lewis are very close friends. Allison says he wasn’t sure what alias Slack used when he came to the office.

Lieblong says he had a “real sick feeling” when he heard about Allison’s ordeal. He says he is unsure why Slack would have targeted Allison other than the fact that Allison openly supported him and his wife during Slack’s trial for that kidnapping.

“Johnny’s a friend of mine and everybody knows he was there at my deal,” Lieblong says. “I think [Allison] was accessible and, like myself, he probably has too high a profile for [his] own good. But it couldn’t have been a worse deal.”



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