Man arrested for 7-minute escape attempt

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 23, 2010

VIDALIA — Two people ended up behind bars Sunday after one of them decided that he had spent enough time in prison.

A passing motorist reportedly saw an inmate, Brandon T. Smith, 22, of Slidell, leaving the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Work Release facility on U.S. 84 in a Red Ford Mustang with a female driver at 1:42 p.m. Sunday, according to a CPSO news release.

The driver called 911 Dispatcher Mandy Wooten, who then notified CPSO Sgt. Todd Ainsworth.

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The Mustang reportedly traveled westbound from the work-release facility before executing a U-turn after approximately three miles and turning back toward Vidalia, according to the release.

When the vehicle reached the intersection of Airport Road and U.S. 84, Ainsworth stopped the vehicle and placed both people inside under arrest.

Smith was charged with simple escape and introduction of contraband — a cell phone — into a penal institution.

The driver, Latricia Rochelle Farris, 30, 103 Division St., Jonesville, was charged with assisting escape.

The alleged escape lasted a total of seven minutes.

“We’re extremely grateful to this gentleman who notified us immediately when he noticed a questionable situation,” Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell said. “His call and the superb efforts of Dispatcher Wooten and Sgt. Ainsworth brought this incident to a safe and speedy conclusion.”

The work-release program is a partnership between the Department of Corrections and the CPSO that allows inmates to work and earn money in preparation for their eventual release.

The DOC sets the guidelines for and has oversight of the program, which is for non-violent offenders, the release said.