A former Methodist minister accused in a civil lawsuit of trying to kill his wife was served with court papers as he and a companion tried to flee in California, a Dallas newspaper reported this week.

A process server slipped a copy of the lawsuit under the windshield wipers of a car as Walker Railey, the former minister, and Lucy Papillon, a Dallas psychologist, sped away from a northern California resort Monday, the Dallas Times Herald said.

The parents of Railey's wife, Margaret, filed the lawsuit Feb. 2, accusing their son-in-law of attempted strangulation. The suit seeks unspecified damages. Margaret Railey has been in a coma since she was left for dead on the floor of the family's garage April 22.

Railey denies attacking his wife, and the Dallas County grand jury, before which he took the Fifth Amendment 43 times, did not indict him. Dallas police are still investigating.

Railey, 40, former pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Dallas, and Papillon, who reportedly told the grand jury that she and Railey traveled together and once discussed marriage, were discovered Sunday at a Mendocino, Calif., inn by process server Steve Adams and a Dallas Times Herald reporter.

When the couple was spotted drinking beer outside their $140-a-night cabin, they ran inside and barricaded themselves in their room for 22 hours, ordering food from room service and instructing inn employees to put through telephone calls only from certain individuals.

On Monday, a resort employee carried their luggage to their rented car. Papillon walked out of the cabin, got into the car and Railey darted from the cabin with a coat over his head.

Railey slumped in the front seat as the car sped out the driveway. Smith ran alongside the car, identified himself as a process server and placed the papers under the windshield wipers, the newspaper said.

Railey had told The Dallas Morning News in an interview late last week that he was not trying to avoid the legal papers and was "keeping a low profile" to avoid the press. The newspaper quoted him as saying he had been living in hotels and friends' homes to avoid the press.