Inmates walk-off work detail

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Two Covington County inmates who were working in community service jobs for the city walked away from their duties on Wednesday, but were captured later that night.

At approximately 12:45 p.m., Donnie Price and Wade Mitchell, inmates at the Covington County Jail, walked away from their

jobs with the City of Andalusia Department of Leisure Services

"They work for us on a daily basis," said Dwight Mikel, director of Leisure Services for the city, referring to county inmates. "Not necessarily these same guys. I believe these two that ran were new."

Mikel said the pair was helping Paul Arnett, a city maintenance supervisor, trim the rough at the Evans Barnes Golf Course. They then were taken to the old Skills Center on South Three Notch to eat.

"It is my understanding that when they went into lunch, they aren't allowed to smoke inside, so they have this tree they sit under," said Mikel. "They were just gone."

Mikel was notified as soon as the two men were missed and spent some time looking for them himself, especially looking down the railroad tracks. He said they "very easily could have" made their escape along that route, and that he thought they were "headed out of here."

Mikel said that this is not the first time this has happened.

"We've had one or two walk away through the years," he said. "The Sheriff's Department does an excellent job of screening trustees. These folks have to be able to prove they're trustworthy. These folks (Price and Mitchell) are con artists. They caught us all."

A traffic stop was made on the Square shortly after the two men left that was originally thought to be related to the incident.

"They pulled over a car that matched the description of the one the two men may have left in," said Walter Inabinett, an investigator for the CCS. "But it wasn't the same one."

The search continued Wednesday night with law enforcement officials focusing on the railroad area near South Cotton Street.

Price had been arrested for Failure to Pay, Theft of Property I, Theft of Property III, and Burglary III.

Mitchell had been arrested for Receiving Stolen Property I, Burglary III, and Theft of Property III.

The escaped inmates were captured at about 9:15 p.m. on Montgomery Street in Andalusia. The River Falls Police Department, Andalusia Police Department, 22nd Judicial Circuit Covington County Drug Task Force, and the Covington County Sheriff's Department had been searching for the pair since this afternoon the the prison escapees. The search was centered around the South Three Notch area. The convicts will be charged with escape, according to Sheriff's Investigator Walter Inabinett.