LAFAYETTE — A man sentenced in a St. Landry Parish court to serve more than 20 years in prison escaped from custody Thursday while being transported to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, officials said.

Shortly before 3 p.m., Matthew Q. Keyes, 24, jumped out of a van being driven by a St. Landry Sheriff’s corrections transport officer, said Capt. Jimmy Darbonne, spokesman for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Keyes was somehow able to free himself from his leg restraints and handcuffs while in transport, Darbonne said. Exactly how Keyes managed to do so is under investigation.

“We’d like to all know that,” Darbonne said.

Earlier Thursday, Keyes was sentenced to serve more than 20 years in prison on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, home invasion, and two counts of burglary of a dwelling, Darbonne said.

The van was bringing Keyes to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center. Only Keyes and the officer were in the van, Darbonne said.

Keyes escaped while the van was stopped at a red light on Evangeline Thruway and Mudd Avenue. During the stop, Keyes jumped out of the van and fled west on Mudd Avenue, Darbonne said.

Keyes was last seen wearing gray sweatpants and a white T-shirt, according to a news release. Keyes is described as a black man, 6 feet 1 inch, and 155 pounds.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the nearest law enforcement agency.

“Use extreme caution if you come into contact with him,” Darbonne said.