3 inmates caught after escaping from jail, stealing Carlyle mayor's car



Posted on March 8, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 8 at 9:19 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Three inmates who escaped from jail and stole a local mayor’s car were caught in Indiana Thursday morning, according to the Bond County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities say 28-year-old Brian Wilt, 21-year-old Joshua Frith and 26-year-old James Hickman are all in custody.

According to police, a corrections officer at the Bond County Jail – located in Greenville, Illinois - unlocked a cell door to deliver some items around 1:30 a.m. when one of the three inmates struck him and knocked him to the floor.

Police said Wilt, Frith and Hickman ran from the cell and escaped through a rear jail door that was unlocked for maintenance.

Police said around 4:30 a.m. they spotted a stolen Jeep in nearby Carlye. Officers pursued the vehicle until it crashed. The prisoners then got out and fled on foot.

“Within 15 or 20 minutes we received report of a stolen car approximately seven to eight blocks away from the initial stop,” said Chief Kent Newkirk with the Carlyle Police Department. “Within another five to 10 minutes we received report of a second stolen vehicle within three or four blocks the other way from the stop.”

That meant the three convicts had to split up, which hich led to a state wide manhunt.

Indiana authorities said officers conducted a traffic stop in Sullivan County on a vehicle reported stolen from Carlyle around 8 a.m. and found Frith and Hickman. According to police, the stolen Chevy Impala belonged to the Carlyle mayor. Authorities said they were able to track the stolen vehicle because it was equipped with OnStar technology.

Police said Frith and Hickman were taken into custody without incident.

Deputies said Wilt was captured a few hours later in Carbondale, Illinois.

Authorities said Wilt was being held on forgery charges and Frith faced drug charges. Hickman was being held on sexual abuse charges. 

One of the families who had their car stolen in Carlyle was especially hurt by the escape and subsequent chase because their car is basically a life-line for their young daughter.

The car, a 2002 Chrysler Sebring, was in the driveway of their home at about 6 a.m. when the owner, Jared Hill, noticed it was gone.

“I looked outside and seen it was gone. (I) wasn’t really believing my eyes,” he said.

Hill and his wife say it hit them hard because of their 18-month-old daughter, Autumn.

Autumn has a heart condition which requires the Hills to make a trip to Cardinal Glennon at least twice a month.

Police say some of the cars stolen Wednesday morning still had the keys in them.

“In a small community it’s not uncommon for that, but as time goes on people are learning the hard way,” said Newkirk.

The Hill said police called them to say the car was recovered in Carbondale. Police said they will have to pay $50 to get the car from the lot where it’s being held.