Prisoner escapes, steps in river before being caught _lowres

Clayton E. Holland

An East Baton Rouge Parish prisoner briefly escaped while being driven to the 19th Judicial District Courthouse for an arraignment Wednesday morning, finding his way to the edge of the Mississippi River before being captured.

Clayton E. Holland, 34, escaped from a Pine Prairie Correctional Center van about 7:45 a.m., just before the van reached the North Boulevard courthouse, Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said.

Holland, of Baton Rouge, was being held in Pine Prairie, which is in Evangeline Parish, because the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison does not have enough space to house all of its inmates. Other Parish Prison inmates also are housed at various jails across the state for the same reason.

It was not clear how Holland escaped, Hicks said, but deputies were investigating the incident.

After Holland escaped from the van, authorities put out a notice, asking for help with locating the escapee, Hicks said.

A community policing deputy working an event near LSU heard the call and headed downtown. The deputy found Holland at the edge of the Mississippi River near the USS Kidd, Hicks said.

The deputy convinced Holland to come back to dry land where he was taken into custody.

About 15 minutes passed from the time Holland escaped until he was taken into custody, Hicks said.

Holland will be booked on a count of simple escape, Hicks said.

In the past week, Holland had been accused of burglarizing Nomzamo’s Stocking, Accessories and Fashion Clothing store on Florida Boulevard on Aug. 1 and Aug. 3. He was booked with two counts of simple burglary, he’s accused of breaking into the store and stealing a total of five purses, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

He also was accused Monday of attempting to cash a forged $400 check at another business on Aug. 1. He was booked with one count of misdemeanor theft in that matter.

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