Where is Chad Austin Now? – Hey there, folks! Today, we’re diving into the gripping real-life drama of Chad Austin, a name that may not ring a bell for many, but his story is bound to leave you on the edge of your seat. This narrative unfolds in true-crime television, specifically on Investigation Discovery, and in a particular episode titled ‘Hostage 911: The Hostage Fights Back.’ If you’re curious about who Chad Austin is and where he stands today, then you’ve landed in the right place. Let’s embark on this extraordinary journey!
‘The Hostage Fights Back’ Plot Summary:
On February 11, 1998, an ordinary morning that took an extraordinary twist. In Salem, New Hampshire, a seemingly average 32-year-old named Paul Hardy was at home with his four-year-old twin boys, Kyle and Kevin. They were going about their daily business, unaware of the impending storm.
Then, out of nowhere, a masked intruder brandishing a Glock pistol invaded their peaceful lives. Police officers, armed to the teeth with sniper rifles and shotguns, descended on the house. Neighbors fled for cover as chaos reigned.
But this story is much more than a mere home invasion. It’s a tale of high-speed chases, gunfire exchanges, and one man’s audacious attempt to evade capture at any cost. This man, Chad Austin, had earlier robbed a bank in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, setting off a 50-mile police chase along the coast that culminated in the living room of Paul Hardy’s home.
Chad’s reckless driving reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, and he evaded roadblocks, fired at officers, and even stood up through the sunroof to fire point-blank at the police during the pursuit. Remarkably, no one sustained serious injuries, including Chad himself.
Paul Hardy, an Essex County corrections officer, played a pivotal role in the day’s events. He managed to protect his children, keeping them safe while dealing with the armed intruder. It’s a story of courage, quick thinking, and the incredible resilience of an ordinary man facing an extraordinary situation.
Who is Chad Austin?
At the time of the incident in 1998, Chad Austin was a 24-year-old man with a tumultuous past and a long history of run-ins with the law. His criminal record was far from clean, with prior convictions, the most recent being for assault, which landed him in prison.
Released from prison in October 1997, life outside wasn’t treating Chad kindly. His girlfriend had left him, he was jobless, and he couldn’t scrape together enough money to cover overdue court and probation fees. To make matters even more complicated, he had no family to turn to for support, as his biological father was also behind bars.
Desperation began to grip Chad, which is when he made the fateful decision. He donned a ski mask, slipped on black gloves, and robbed the Granite Bank in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, around 10:20 a.m. on February 11. He then made a daring escape in a black Volkswagen Jetta.
But the daring didn’t stop there. Chad’s escape took a dramatic turn as he entered Massachusetts. He engaged in a harrowing gun battle with the police near the Salisbury exit on Interstate 95, firing approximately a dozen shots. Over the next half-hour, he led law enforcement officers from multiple communities on a wild chase through Newburyport, Rowley, Ipswich, Essex, Manchester, Beverly, and finally into Salem.
During this relentless pursuit, Chad displayed utter recklessness. He weaved through traffic, changed lanes erratically, and drove directly at police roadblocks, all while avoiding capture. The intensity escalated as the chase reached the Veterans Memorial Bridge, where Salem police set up a roadblock on the Salem side. Chad, however, managed to evade this obstacle and sped past, even having a moment to share a sinister laugh with a patrolman.
The intensity was far from over. Stay tuned to find out what happened next!
What Crime Did Chad Austin Do?
Now, let’s focus on the criminal actions that put Chad Austin on the radar of law enforcement and led to the gripping hostage situation at the heart of ‘Hostage 911: The Hostage Fights Back.’
Chad’s crime spree commenced on that fateful February day in 1998 when he decided to rob the Granite Bank in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Armed with a gun, he stormed into the bank around 10:20 a.m., donning a ski mask and black gloves to conceal his identity. After a swift and daring heist, he fled the scene in a black Volkswagen Jetta, beginning a high-stakes chase across state lines.
The heist alone wasn’t enough to quench Chad’s audacious thirst for danger. As he crossed into Massachusetts, the situation escalated into a full-blown firefight with the police near the Salisbury exit on Interstate 95. Chad’s firing of approximately a dozen shots in this intense showdown further fueled his reputation as a dangerous and desperate individual.
Chad led law enforcement officers on a white-knuckle chase for the next half-hour through multiple Massachusetts communities. His actions during this pursuit were nothing short of astonishing. He weaved through traffic, changed lanes erratically, and even drove directly at police roadblocks, sometimes narrowly escaping capture. This reckless behavior seemed to know no bounds.
As the high-speed chase neared its climax at the Veterans Memorial Bridge, Salem police established a roadblock on the Salem side to stop Chad. However, this was merely a momentary inconvenience for the determined criminal. Chad skillfully maneuvered his vehicle from the breakdown lane, crossed the road, and sped past the police officers. The arrogance of his actions seemed almost unbelievable.
Now, let’s shift our focus to what unfolded when Chad Austin entered Salem, New Hampshire, and how he found himself in the living room of a certain Paul Hardy.
Where is Chad Austin Now?
The thrilling chase and confrontations thus far have set the stage for the gripping hostage situation that unfolded in Paul Hardy’s home in Salem, New Hampshire.
At around 11:40 a.m. on that eventful day, Paul Hardy, an Essex County corrections officer, was at home with his four-year-old twin sons, Kyle and Kevin. While Paul was enjoying a typical day, relaxing in his living room and watching TV, little did he know that a masked intruder was about to change the course of his life.
The masked intruder was none other than Chad Austin, who burst into the home with a gun in hand and a pink pillowcase filled with stolen money. The very presence of the intruder brought chaos and fear into the household, and what followed was a series of tense and dramatic events.
Chad’s initial actions in the house involved sorting and counting the money he had stolen. He even expressed regret about being unable to spend it, shedding light on the desperation that had driven him to commit such audacious crimes. He discussed the various criminal charges hanging over his head and tried to estimate the potential length of his prison sentence, creating a palpable tension in the room.
While inside Paul Hardy’s home, Chad Austin made contact with family members, even conveying messages from Paul to his loved ones. This bizarre situation included mundane details like the sergeant’s wife’s upcoming dental appointment, illustrating the surreal nature of the hostage situation.
Simultaneously, the police repeatedly attempted to contact Chad, hoping to defuse the volatile situation. However, Chad claimed to have spotted officers within shooting range each time, forcing the officials to retreat.
It was a hostage negotiator from the FBI, a female expert in the field, who managed to establish rapport with Chad Austin. Her efforts ultimately led to releasing the children from the dangerous situation. Kyle hesitated and returned to his father, creating a heartbreaking moment when Paul had to close the door on his crying son.
As more than four intense hours passed with Paul held hostage, it became increasingly clear to those familiar with the former Salem High wrestler that he was a man of action. Moments later, Chad, who was seated on a couch, heard a noise in the kitchen. This noise triggered a swift and daring move from Paul.
Sitting in a nearby chair, Paul suddenly grabbed the gun, initiating a struggle during which the weapon discharged twice, miraculously without causing harm to anyone involved. The room was filled with tension as the two men grappled for control.
During this intense struggle, Paul Hardy displayed remarkable courage. He head-butted Chad Austin, who retaliated by biting him multiple times on the arms and back. The room echoed with threats and defiance as the two men confronted each other.
Chad Austin exclaimed, “I’m going to kill you,” to which Paul Hardy responded with steely determination, “No, you’re going to jail.”
The climax of this gripping hostage situation was nothing short of cinematic. While holding the gun, Chad was dragged by Paul Hardy towards a window, making their struggle visible to the police outside. The tactical team took swift action, storming through the back door with a stun grenade and shooting Chad in the thigh. Dazed by the explosion, Paul took a daring leap out of a front window, sealing the fate of the audacious bank robber.
Let’s fast forward to the present and find out where Chad Austin is today.
Chad Austin has been through several legal proceedings since that fateful day in 1998. In Massachusetts state court, he was sentenced to a 30-40 year term of imprisonment for each of three counts of armed home invasion, in addition to receiving concurrent, shorter sentences for other state crimes linked to the chain of events that unfolded. Furthermore, Chad faced federal bank robbery charges in 1999, resulting in a ten-year sentence to be served after his state imprisonment.
However, Chad was not one to accept his fate without a fight. In October 2006, he took a bold step by filing a motion in which he argued that his original sentence was illegal. This legal maneuver sought a reduction in his sentence, which was met with a response from Erstwhile First Assistant District Attorney Jack Dawley.
In a surprising turn of events, it was confirmed that Chad Austin’s sentence was reduced from 30-40 years to 19-20 years in state prison on December 26, 2006. This reduction was attributed to changes in state law, specifically capping the penalty for home invasion at 20 years.
Regarding his current whereabouts, federal inmate records indicate that Chad Austin, now 50 years old, is incarcerated at USP Hazelton. He is scheduled to be released on September 17, 2025.
It’s a remarkable journey filled with audacity, resilience, and legal twists and turns. Chad Austin’s story is a testament to the unpredictable nature of real-life crime and the complex world of the American justice system.
What Does the Chad Austin Hostage Story Teach Us?
Chad Austin’s audacious bank robbery and the gripping hostage situation that followed offer us valuable insights into the human capacity for both desperation and heroism. It’s a story that highlights the lengths to which some individuals may go when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Chad’s journey from a troubled past to a dramatic bank heist and the subsequent hostage situation is a stark reminder of the consequences of crime and individuals’ choices when pushed to their limits. It prompts us to reflect on the importance of societal support systems and mental health resources to prevent such desperate acts.
The heroic actions of Paul Hardy, an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation, inspire us to believe in the strength of the human spirit. His quick thinking, bravery, and determination to protect his children testify to the resilience that can emerge in the face of danger.
This real-life drama also underscores law enforcement’s critical role and ability to work together to prevent tragic outcomes. The collaboration between local police, state police, and the FBI in this incident is a shining example of how effective coordination can save lives.
In conclusion, the Chad Austin hostage story is a gripping narrative of crime, courage, and the pursuit of justice. It reminds us that the human spirit can be both fragile and resilient and that choices have consequences. It’s a tale that will stay with us, challenging our perceptions of heroism and desperation.