Inmate escapes jail on foot following hearing

Posted February 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

A prisoner at the Clinton County Jail fled on foot from authorities at about mid-day Monday and as of press time Tuesday afternoon, remained on the lam.


Jessie W. Pittman, who was previously charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, left the Clinton County Jail at about 10:50 a.m. Monday.

Law enforcement officers from the Albany Police Department, Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and the Kentucky State Police were all involved in the search for Pittman.

That search was centered around the immediate area of the Clinton County Jail and began moments after jail officials reported to the Clinton County Dispatch Center that the inmate had escaped custody.

Law enforcement began immediately combing the area where Pittman was reported to have fled, which was to the rear parking lot of the facility, and through the Golden Harvest Village Housing units situated adjacent to the jail.

Within a few minutes after the search initially began, and with Pittman not being immediately located, authorities also instructed school officials to lock down the schools in the Clinton County School system as a precautionary measure.

Sheriff Rick Riddle told the Clinton County News during the search Monday, that the suspect had previously missed an earlier scheduled court date, and was arrested on a warrant that had been issued in relation to that incident.

Clinton County Jailer Gene Ferrill told the Clinton County News Monday afternoon about the circumstances surrounding Pittman’s escape.

Ferrill said that a deputy jailer was going through the process of removing handcuffs and leg shackles from a group of prisoners that had just returned from trials and hearing procedures in the Clinton County courtroom.

Ferrill said that Pittman had been lodged in the Casey County Detention Center before being transported to Clinton County for court proceedings here Monday.

Pittman had been in courtMonday for an arraignment hearing in relation to the previous arrest warrant issued when he failed to appear for an earlier scheduled trial.

“We were going to let him eat lunch before he went back to Casey County,” Ferrill said, adding that a deputy jailer had removed the handcuffs and leg shackles from a prisoner in front of Pittman, before removing the handcuffs and shackles from Pittman.

“When he turned around to take the handcuffs and shackles off of the next prisoner, he (Pittman) managed to get around everyone and he was gone,” Ferrill said.

Ferrill said he saw what was happening and he made a lunge toward the prisoner in an attempt to grab him before he made it out the door, but was unable to grab the fleeing suspect in time to stop him.

“I was talking to some other prisoners who were being booked, explaining why they were there, and I saw what was about to happen and I made eye contact with him, and lunged for him as he started to run,” Ferrill said. “He’s kind of a little fellow and he just went down low and managed to get underneath me and he was gone,” Ferrill said.

Pittman was last seen dressed in a blue jumpsuit that had been issued from the Casey County Detention Center, although it was not clear if he had removed the jumpsuit shortly after leaving the custody of jail officials.

He was also reported fleeing without shoes, as he left the jail-issued sandals behind.

Ferrill said it was not uncommon for a prisoner who attempts to escape on foot to “run out of” their sandals pretty quickly after they begin their fleeing attempt as the sandals simply keep them from being able to gain any foot speed.

The search for Pittman continued for nearly two hours in the areas closest to the Clinton County Jail, including Clear Street, Hospital Street, Wood Street, Spring Street and Allen Street.

Authorities were given several reports by residents in the area during the search, including separate reports that a vehicle had been seen picking up a pedestrian near the rear gated entrance to Golden Harvest Village on Spring Street.

During the search Monday, officers combed the area near the jail, going door to door and speaking to area residents, as well as looking in outbuildings and several vacant structures where Pittman could have been hiding.

Pittman is described as being a small build Caucasian. 5’ 10Ω” in height and weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He also has several tattoos.

Anyone spotting Pittman is asked to call 911 and alert local authorities as to his whereabouts.

In addition to the charges related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine and the failure to appear charge, Pittman now will also face escape related charges as well.