Police capture escapee from Anne Arundel jail

Two days later, fugitive found at shopping center

April 08, 2001|By Alec MacGillis | Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF

A maximum-security inmate who braved two razor-wire fences to escape from the Anne Arundel County Detention Center was captured yesterday in Annapolis, after two days of freedom.

Apparently, for all the effort it took to get out of jail, he had nowhere to go.

City police found fugitive Derrick Dion Jones, 23, lying in a trash bin loaded with cardboard boxes behind a shopping center in the 1900 block of West St. about 3:30 p.m. He had been seen earlier in the day begging outside a Wendy's restaurant.

"He was just laying motionless in the Dumpster. We told him to get out and he just lay there. I don't know if he was playing possum or what," said Officer Hal Dalton. But after a few moments, Jones complied and climbed out of the trash bin, surrounded by a dozen officers.

Police said they took Jones to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where he was treated for cuts suffered in his escape over a pair of 20-foot razor-wire fences at the Jennifer Road jail complex. Hospital spokeswoman Martha Harlan said Jones was treated in the emergency room, then handed back to police.

He was back at the jail last night, police said.

Jones, who formerly lived in the North County community of Pumphrey, was scheduled for trial this week on charges including attempted murder in the shooting of a 61-year-old Annapolis woman during a Christmas Eve robbery. It is one of several cases in which he was awaiting trial.

He escaped from a jail recreation yard by climbing a razor-wire fence, jumping onto the roof of a housing unit and climbing down another razor-wire fence into a passage between the jail perimeter and West Annapolis fire station.

Dalton said police began receiving reports from residents and workers in the neighborhood about 9 a.m. yesterday that a "suspicious-looking" man was hanging around the 1900 block of West St.

Police searched the area without success. Then, shortly after 2 p.m., Greg Williams, manager of the Wendy's there, called to report that a man was bothering customers in the drive-through line, begging them for money.

Police intensified their search of the area, Dalton said, and soon afterward found Jones in his hiding place.

Mike Jones, assistant manager at Rent-a-Center in the shopping plaza on West Street, said he was surprised to hear of the discovery. His employees had carried the cardboard boxes out to the trash bin 90 minutes earlier and hadn't seen anything suspicious, he said.

Authorities said the escape may have been made possible by a fight between other inmates that distracted an officer escorting prisoners to the recreation yard. As he fled, Jones lost one of his shoes and a bedsheet that jail officials believed he had stuffed in his pants to protect himself against the razor wire.

The county will undertake a review of the escape, according to Richard J. Baker, superintendent of the county's two detention centers.

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