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Pa. prison inmate escapes from van

is quickly captured

August 04, 2007|By DON AINES

GREENVILLAGE, PA. - Jamie Yeager walks with a cane, but the state prison inmate was able to escape from Franklin County Sheriff's deputies Friday afternoon before being captured a short time later by Pennsylvania State Police.

Yeager, 27, a prisoner at the state prison in Camp Hill, Pa., was being transported back to Franklin County Prison when he escaped from a van waiting in a line of traffic at the intersection of Pa. 997 and U.S. 11, Chief Deputy Preston Strayer said. Because he used a cane, Yeager had only one hand cuffed to the belly band he wore and no leg shackles, Strayer said.

Bail, then bailing out

According to Franklin County Jail records, Yeager had been brought to the county on Tuesday from Camp Hill, where he was serving a sentence for attempted burglary, for a court appearance. Strayer said Yeager appeared before Judge Douglas Herman Thursday, and the judge set his bail at $150,000 while he appealed his case.

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Yeager was taken back to Camp Hill Friday, Strayer said.

"When we got to Camp Hill, I don't know what their policy is, but if someone has bail, they do not house them," Strayer said. With the prison refusing to take Yeager, the deputies were bringing him back, along with another state prison inmate they had orders to pick up, he said.

Strayer said he will have to investigate how Yeager got out of the van, the doors of which were supposed to be locked. The doors to the prisoner compartment cannot be unlocked from the inside, he said.

After Yeager bolted from the van, other deputies were called in to search the area, along with Pennsylvania State Police, Strayer said. The escape was called in at 2:11 p.m., and Yeager was caught by state police about 3 p.m. as he was coming out of a cornfield along U.S. 11 near Musser Road, he said.

Yeager covered about two miles during that time, Strayer said.

"That is not an uncommon thing for someone to fake an injury," Franklin County Warden John Wetzel said. Because of privacy laws, he said he is unable to discuss the medical condition of any inmate.

"Evidently, he had faked everyone about the extent of his disability," said Sheriff Robert Wollyung, home Friday recovering from back surgery the previous day.

"You have to credit the state police for their quick assistance in recapturing the prisoner," Wollyung said. "It's good to have cooperation between agencies when something like this happens."

Yeager was charged by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office with escape and flight to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment, Strayer said.

Strayer said he also spoke with District Attorney John F. Nelson about asking Herman next week to revoke Yeager's bail.

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