Escapee found lying in creek

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Police have learned a Georgiana man who fled in handcuffs from Mizell Memorial Hospital Tuesday was wanted on two fronts – his escape from Opp police custody that morning and for violating his parole in Butler County.

Opp Police Chief Nickey Carnley said the man, who identified himself as 19-year-old Lajon Pate, was arrested Sunday after he allegedly was caught drinking and was arrested for minor in consumption and public intoxication. Unable to post the $850 bond, Pate remained in the city jail, and on Tuesday, requested to see a doctor for an unidentified “medical issue.” Escorted by an officer, Pate was transported to Mizell Memorial Hospital’s emergency room for treatment, Carnley said.

“Pate was seen by a physician and given a prescription for his medical issue,” Carnley said. “When the officer accompanying Pate stepped out of Pate’s presence to speak with the doctor about the prescriptions, Pate fled – in handcuffs.”

That was at 8 a.m. Thanks to assistance from a host of area law enforcement agencies and the Walton County, Fla., Correctional Institute K9 tracking team, Pate was found by 10:30 a.m., at the dead end of Brantley Street, lying in a creek.

Carnley said by then, it was learned that Pate had given false information at the time of his initial arrest.

“Turns out his real name is Jermaine Pate, a 26-year-old from Georgiana, who was wanted in Butler County for parole violation,” Carnley said.

Pate now faces charges of escape III and use of false identity to obstruct justice – each class “C” felonies – and was transported to the Covington County Jail and held without bond.