Jul. 25--MEDFORD, Okla.-- An inmate who climbed out of a bathroom window at the Grant County jail and fled in a sheriff's department truck posed as a deputy and purchased fuel using the county credit card before being captured in Arkansas early Friday.
Joshua R. Albright, 23, was in custody in Johnson County, Ark., about 60 miles east of the Oklahoma state line, according to Sheriff Roland Hula.
Albright was apprehended about 2 a.m. after a pursuit with Arkansas state troopers and police from Clarksville, Ark. The pursuit ended after stop sticks popped three of the four tires on the truck. Albright also rammed an Arkansas state trooper's car, Hula said. No one was injured, but the trooper's car sustained damage.
Albright escaped around 5 a.m. Thursday as deputies were preparing to transport him to the Department of Corrections reception center in Lexington. Albright was allowed to use the bathroom with the door closed. Once the door was closed, Albright locked the door and went out the bathroom window, Hula said.
The department's truck was sitting outside with the keys inside and Albright fled in the truck. Hula said the vehicle did not have any weapons in it at the time, as originally believed.
Albright traveled across Oklahoma and got fuel in southeastern Kansas using the county's Fuelman card, Hula said. Albright first tried to get fuel but didn't have the pin number needed to use the card. Wearing a sheriff's deputy shirt found in the truck and a pair of blue jeans, Albright went into the store and the clerk called Fuelman, convincing the company to allow the charges.
"He was brazen enough to portray himself as an officer," Hula said. "His knowledge of our staff convinced them to let the transaction go through."
Hula said there was no indication that Albright, who had been at the Grant County jail 390 days, had been planning an escape for a long period of time
"I think it was simply a matter of opportunity," Hula said. "There's no doubt he intended to run on foot, but quickly determined that keys were in the vehicle and got in it and fled."
Hula, a former state trooper with nearly 30 years in law enforcement, said that staff did not follow policies when transporting Albright and those issues would be scrutinized.
"Our shortcomings in security measures regarding prisoner transport will be reviewed and corrected to hopefully protect this from happening again," Hula said. "We're just glad there were no other victims, outside of us. We're glad he didn't get out there and cause someone else misfortune."
Albright was convicted of first-degree robbery for a 2006 crime in which a woman was tied up and held for nearly eight hours as Albright and another man robbed her home, Hula said.
He fled to Maine shortly after he was implicated in the crime, but was brought back to Oklahoma last year and sentenced to two consecutive 20-year sentences last month, Hula said.
"What he did to that victim was unconscionable. There is no reason to think that he wouldn't subject someone else to that same misfortune," the sheriff said.
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