A fatal wreck in Shelby County today was briefly believed to have claimed the life of an inmate on the run after breaking out of Walker County Jail Sunday.
The fatal car crash on Valleydale Road in Shelby County resulted after authorities chased a vehicle they spotted while on their way to investigate a residence where Sheriff’s officials believed the escapee may be hiding.
Walker County Sheriff Jim Underwood said the Shelby law enforcement officials initially tried to pull the vehicle over because of excessive speed. The driver’s refusal to stop led them to suspect Brady Kilpatrick, 24, of Cordova was the driver they were pursuing.
Four vehicles were involved in the crash that occurred around 3 p.m.
The identity of the man killed today has not yet been released by authorities.
Kilpatrick was in jail after being arrested about two weeks ago for possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
Kilpatrick is the last of 12 inmates who escaped Sunday who has not yet been captured.
During a press conference today, Sheriff Jim Underwood said he believed Kilpatrick is in another county, but not out of the state.
The other inmates who escaped Sunday night are:
— Steven Blake Lamb, age 28 of Quinton (in jail for Attempted Murder, Robbery 1st, Theft 1st, Reckless Endangerment, Probation Revocation);
— Christopher Micheal Smith, age 19, of Jasper (in jail for Attempted Murder, Burglary 1st, Unlawful Breaking and Entering, Theft 2nd);
— Larry Inman Jr, age 29 of Parrish (in jail for 2 counts of Receiving Stolen Property, Attempting to Elude, Failure to Appear);
— Ethan Howard Pearl, age 24 of Jasper (in jail for Resisting Arrest, Obstructing Government Operations, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Promoting Prison Contraband, Failure to appear on Theft 4th);
— Johnny Richard Hunter, age 26 of Jasper (in jail for Burglary 3rd, Theft 4th, Possession of Burglar’s Tools, Escape 1st , Court Referral Office Violation);
— Christopher Cole Spain, age 18 of Jasper (in jail for Failure to Appear on Disorderly Conduct);
— Kristopher Keith Secrest, age 20 of Oakman (in jail for Felony Domestic Violence 2nd and Giving False Information to Law Enforcement);
— Quadrekas Latoddrick Key, age 21 of Parrish (in jail for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Attempting to Elude);
— Michael Adam McGuff, age 30 of Jasper (in jail for Escape 3rd and Obstructing Government Operations);
— Timothy Chaz Cooper, age 28 of Cordova (in jail for Breaking and Entering Motor Vehicle and Theft 4th ); and
— Steven Sanford Hartley, age 27 of Hoover (in jail for Theft of Property 1st ).
Underwood said human error by an unexperienced jailer led to Sunday’s breakout.
“He made a mistake,” Underwood said. “He should have been more cautious.”
The rookie guard was duped by inmates who used peanut butter to alter the appearance of a cell number to make it appear it was the same number as a door that led outside.
“They hollered ‘hey, open door so-and-so’ and the actual door number was the outside (door),” Underwood explained during an afternoon press conference. “Unbeknown to him (the employee), he hit that lock and out the door they went.”
Once outside, the escapees scrambled up a fence and used a blanket to guard themselves from the spriral of razor wire on top.
Some of the escapees had minor injuries, most from the the razor wire fence they scrambled over, according to Walker County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dayron Bridges.
Underwood said one of the escapees was taken to a hospital for treatment for a laceration on his hand.
The sheriff said the inmates who broke out of the area of the jail referred to as “D Dorm” were gone for about an hour before authorities realized they were gone. At that point the jail was locked down and officials did a head count so they would know who was missing.
“Once we did that we started looking for these people and put it on our Facebook page,” Underwood said. “It didn’t take long for the news to spread.”
It also didn’t take long before Walker County residents were using social media to criticize the escape and the manner in which the matter was reported by the Sheriff’s department.
LaTisha Finch of Jasper asked why Sheriff’s officials did not make the escape public sooner.
“Where were the jailers? asked Brady Finney of Moultrie, Georgia who was following the story online Sunday night.
Underwood said his department first posted information about the escape at around 9:20 p.m. on Sunday.
He added that he and other Sheriff’s department authorities are evaluating means in which future escapes at the facility located on 2nd Avenue in downtown Jasper may be avoided.
The jail was constructed in 1998. It is capable of housing 250 inmates, according to the county sheriff’s website.
Although Underwood said the jail needs improvements, he added that such enhancements “cost a lot of money.”
Underwood reminded those at today’s press conference that the county could face bankruptcy if voters decline to approve a 1-cent sales tax increase in a special county vote set for Aug. 15.
Underwood said Sunday’s breakout is the first escape at the jail since his election to office in 2014.