A fugitive inmate from Texas was caught on camera evading officers and being apprehended after escaping from a police van.
Larry Christian, a spokesman for the Smith County Sheriff’s Office in Tyler, Texas, told CBS News that on January 3, an inmate named Timothy Chappelle kicked out the van’s passenger side window and cage while being transported to another facility.
Police say Chappelle escaped through the gap and ran along a parkway.
Chappelle was filmed by a female onlooker as he ran through a parking lot and over a fence while still wearing what appear to be a handcuff. After she uploaded it to TikTok, it quickly gained popularity and was viewed more than three million times. The video looks like it was shot from a nearby shopping center.
A sheriff’s deputy can be seen in her footage, also chasing Chappelle, and the van with the cage covering the window crooked. Part two of the video was posted by user @theyenvyjanae on TikTok and shows Chappelle being arrested on someone’s front lawn. Christian said that Chappelle was arrested by sheriff’s deputies after they found him in two separate homes he had broken into.
Police report that Chappelle’s charges have been increased from criminal mischief to escape while arrested and two counts of burglary of a habitation while he was already in the Smith County Jail.
Police In Texas Have Temporarily Halted Prisoner Transports After An Inmate Escapes And Killed His Family Of Five
An inmate in Texas staged a dramatic breakout from a prison bus, leading authorities on a three-week manhunt before eventually killing him. According to a press release, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has suspended all inmate transports while it reviews its policies and procedures.
In the event that transport is required, such as for an inmate’s release or an urgent medical appointment, extra precautions will be taken to ensure his or her safety. The agency has started its own Serious Incident Review and plans to hire a third-party firm to conduct a separate review as well.
The escape of inmate Gonzalo Lopez on May 12 has prompted the current probes.
Lopez, a convicted murderer serving two life sentences, escaped while being transported to a medical appointment on a prison bus along with sixteen other inmates. He then took control of the bus, crashed it, and fled the scene on foot. A female witness in Texas recorded Lopez’s escape into the woods.
Three Weeks After He Went Missing, On June 3, Lopez Was Gunned Down By Police
In a weekend cabin in Centerville, about 250 miles from where he was eventually located, on June 3, police say the fugitive killed an adult and four children. Authorities said the fugitive was a former member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang.
After this, Lopez is said to have stolen the victims’ white Chevrolet Silverado, which was later located by authorities south of San Antonio. Deputy Lopez crashed into a tree because of the spike strips set up by the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office.
As Lopez emerged from the wreckage of his truck, he engaged law enforcement in gunfire, eventually leading to his own death. The 46-year-old man was armed with both a handgun and a rifle.
Despite being sentenced to death for murder, the inmate had attempted an escape before. After his initial escape, he was on the run for nine days, according to the authorities.
An Inmate Who Escaped Is Captured On Camera And Brought Back To Prison To Face Additional Charges
Police say that inmate Timothy Chappelle, who is being held on charges of criminal mischief, attempted to escape while the jail transport van was stopped at a red light.
Sheriff Larry Smith stated that when the deputy stopped at the red light, the inmate kicked out the security portion of the window, jumped out the window, and ran away. Chappelle was seen by onlookers as he fled the scene in an orange jumpsuit. After Chappelle jumped out of the car, he allegedly broke into two homes on a nearby street.
“We had just finished up our morning’s work and were getting ready to break for lunch. We saw the inmate leave and then return to the facility, and that’s when the crowd started surrounding him. My dad and I wanted to pitch in, but we didn’t know what to do “a member of the nearby construction crew named Esteban Rodriguez remarked.
Chappelle was re-arrested and is now being charged with burglary of a dwelling on two counts and escape on a third. According to Sheriff Smith, “he will spend the rest of his time at Smith County in a lockdown cell.”Smith claimed the van they rode in was poorly constructed and promised to have it repaired as soon as possible.
“Our van’s interior was a dismal failure. It was modified into a security van, but when he kicked it, the screws all came loose. We’ll be adding bars as an afterthought, “Mr. Smith remarked.
When Chappelle broke into the two houses, no one was hurt. Chappelle, according to Sheriff Smith, never made any moves that would indicate an attempt at escape.