Authorities catch inmate who escaped during jail transfer

October 25, 2010 8:49:59 PM PDT
A jail inmate, handcuffed and shackled overpowered an officer and escaped Monday. Now, he's back in custody after a wild ride and manhunt. This all began just before five o'clock near the Conroe River in Walker County and came to end a couple hours later in Montgomery County.

Joshua Johnson already was in custody at the Montgomery County Jail for a robbery in June. He was out of jail to be transferred to a court in Grimes County for a drug charge, but the transfer turned into an escape. Now he faces even more criminal charges.

Johnson was back in custody after almost two hours of freedom on Monday. His daring escape ended on a rural road after Grimes County Sheriff's Office Lt. Blake Jarvis talked him out of suicide.

"He was crying, upset," Jarvis said. "One minute, angry and wanted to kill himself, next minute back talking in a normal voice."

Johnson was in the back of a transport vehicle on the way back to the Montgomery County Jail from a court hearing in Grimes County. There was one officer in the front driving when investigators say he made his move.

"He came through the partition from the back of the vehicle, and he overpowered the officer, grabbed the officer's gun and fire three rounds at the officer," Jarvis said.

Armed with the officer's 9mm, Johnson took off, leaving the deputy off the side of the road near New Waverly. A number of agencies joined the search before the end of the situation neared.

"Somebody got on the radio and said, 'Hey this is Josh. Any officers out there?'" Jarvis said.

Jarvis picked up the radio, and after a half-hour dialogue, Johnson revealed his location. Jarvis talked him into surrendering.

Johnson was still wearing handcuffs and shackles; it was the best-case scenario, though it still yields questions, including how someone handcuffed and in shackles manages to get through a partition.

"Partitions are not made to be broken or getting through, but I haven't examined the vehicle yet to see if it actually shattered or if it's a defect or if something happened," Jarvis said. "In this case, he was able to get through the partition."

Grimes County officials say they'll launch their own investigation into how Johnson was able to escape while in the back of an officer's vehicle. Officer Harold Trent was the officer who was overpowered. He's been with the department for six years. He suffered only minor injuries and is expected to be OK.

Johnson now faces more charges, including felony evading and aggravated assault on a public servant.


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