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Covington County work release inmate dead after escape, stolen vehicle chase

An inmate is dead after escaping from work release and stealing two vehicles Wednesday, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

ALEA says officials were notified at approximately 1:27 p.m. that an inmate’s ankle monitor at the Covington County work release program was cut.

A statement from ALEA says the inmate stole a vehicle from the Covington Center Arena, then stole another vehicle. This led to pursuit by the Covington County Sheriff’s Office and Alabama state troopers.

The statement says: “Deputies with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office exhausted all less lethal options before forcibly stopping the suspect on Highway 55, approximately two miles south of Andalusia. The suspect was pronounced deceased on the scene.”

The manner of death was not specified.

Officials say the inmate’s identity will not be released at this time pending next of kin notification.

The investigation is ongoing.

“A sheriff must make tough decisions with very little time to think about it,” Chief Deputy Todd Grimes said. “We were determined to keep him out of the more populated, incorporated areas of Covington County. The public’s safety is paramount and that was the deciding factor on how this incident was handled. I am grateful that no one else was hurt. (ALEA) State Bureau of Investigations was contacted and is leading this investigation to assure transparency.”