Escapee Causes Scare In Stone County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/10/04

Escapee Causes Scare In Stone County

James H. Smith escaped from the Stone County Regional Correctional Facility around nine Thursday morning.

But he was back in custody before eleven o'clock.

His escape and brief time on the loose included some painful injuries and a frightening encounter for one local woman.

It was the first escape under Sheriff Mike Farmer's watch. 32 year old James H. Smith was being held on federal drug charges. He apparently made his break by clogging up the toilets.

"They was working on the plumbing. The toilets was stopped up. And the fire zone door, they didn't let it close all the way and the guy went out the fire zone door and climbed the razor wire fence. The door should have been closed. It just didn't lock. It was closed, but it didn't lock," said Sheriff Farmer.

The escapee cut himself badly on the coiled razor wire. Once over the fence, he headed for the nearby woods. Authorities got a break when neighbors phoned in something suspicious.

"Their dog was raising cain and they heard something in the woods. And we come and checked it out and put a canine in and he tracked him and got him," the sheriff explained.

One woman had a frightening encounter with the escaped prisoner. Dana Price was doing some yard work in this area, near her house off South McGregor Road. She heard a noise in the woods. She thought at first it was a deer. Turns out, it was the escaped prisoner.

When the two made eye contact, he rushed her. At that point she turned and ran for her life, down the road, knocking on the door of a nearby neighbor. The neighbor wasn't home, so she managed to flag down a passing car for help.

The commotion happened right outside Lori William's home. She was home alone with her young children.

"They just told me to stay in. I came out to see if they needed anything. And he said, 'no just stay in the house.' It was a little scary," Williams said.

The captured inmate was taken to Stone County Hospital with serious cuts.

He told WLOX News he made a break for it, "to get back to my family".

Smith was taken to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport for further treatment. He'll then be transferred to the Harrison County Jail.

By Steve Phillips

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