Prison Escapee Captured by Officials

Thomas Francis Kelley, 51, had been assigned as an inmate firefighter.

By Michelle Wayland
|  Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012  |  Updated 1:10 PM PDT
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Prison Escapee Captured by Officials

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A man who escaped from Donovan State Prison in a prison fire truck on Sunday has been apprehended, according to officials.

Earlier Tuesday morning, sheriff's deputies responded to a possible sighting of Thomas Francis Kelley, 51, at Wind River Road and Elva Street in Rancho San Diego.

Deputies searched the area Tuesday morning, knocking on doors and showing resident Kelley’s picture. They found no leads and stopped searching, according to deputies.   

Later Tuesday morning Kelley was captured in Lemon Grove after a deputy conducting a routine security check of a parking lot recognized the inmate.

When the deputy approached Kelly and asked for identification, Kelly was "evasive," according to a statement from the Sheriff's Department in Lemon Grove.

Kelly was discovered missing during a count at Donovan State Prison on Sunday evening. He was last seen Sunday at 6 p.m.

A few hours later at about 8:40 p.m., two men were seen driving erratically in a yellow prison fire truck at Jamacha and El Kelton in Spring Valley, according to deputies.

“When the deputies pulled the fire engine over, the driver jumped out and fled the scene,” Logan said.

They believe that man was the missing inmate.

Kelley had been assigned as an inmate firefighter at Donovan State Prison. The convicted car thief had been a model inmate, Logan told Reuters.

The inmate was sent to Donovan State Prison on Nov., 2010 for a parole violation. He was scheduled for release in Dec. 2013.

 

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