Jail inmate caught after short flight to freedom
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 22, 2006 - A 20-year-old Como man was apprehended about 45 minutes after he escaped from the county jail late Saturday morning. He led police on a brief chase through a field in a residential area before police caught him.

Jailers alerted officers at at 10:32 a.m. Saturday that Joseph Scott Sword was missing from the county jail, where he had been in custody since Sept. 20, when he was given a 120 day jail commitment on a theft charge, according to jail reports.

Sheriff's deputies and investigators and city police were alerted. After a search concluded the man was nowhere at the  jail, they began setting up a perimeter search from the square, up College Street and down Church and Houston streets to the loop.

Copies of his jail information, including a color photo, detailed description, last known address and prior criminal history were  printed and distributed to all officers involved in the search and faxed to area agencies.

Sword was thought to have fled in his black and white striped jail uniform from the recreational area. His jail uniform was later found in the ditch between the jail and New Beginnings Fellowship Church on Jackson Street. A police canine officer was contacted to try to begin tracking the man's scent beginning at the ditch where Sword's clothes were found.

Officers followed up on a lead that Sword was thought to have frequented a Woodlawn Street residence in the past, as well as a tip from a College Street store of a back door open on a nearby residence. Neither tip turned up the suspect or any evidence indicating he had been there.

The search continued until about 11:10 a.m. Saturday, when police patrol officer Lonnie Taylor knocked on the door of a North Jackson Street residence. A man, clad in pants and a shirt ran out the back door. The clothes had been given to him by the residents. The man had told them he had just been released from jail in his boxer shorts and a shirt

Taylor, over the police radio, advised other officers he had the suspect in sight, heading north toward from 1040 North Jackson St. He chased the man on foot across a field to Church Street. The chase ended when a resident, seeing the suspect approach, warned Sword that a big, mean dog resided on the other side of the fence he was readying to jump

At that point, Sword backed off the fence and was taken into custody by Taylor. He told officers he decided to stop instead of riski being injured by a dog.

He was taken back to the county jail, where he was charged with felony escape. Sword had 88 days remaining on his 120-day jail sentence on a theft charge. If convicted on the felony escape charge, he could face time in prison.

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