Search Underway In Okmulgee County For Escaped Inmate
MORRIS, Oklahoma - Morris Public Schools is on lockdown as law enforcement searches for an escaped inmate.
Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies are searching for the escapee.
Law enforcement set up a perimeter in the area to search for 35-year-old Skipper Eugene Rowland, who faces drug possession charges.
Sonya McMahan witnessed the commotion Tuesday when police and deputies flew down her street looking for Rowland.
"Oh that's scary stuff especially when it's right down the street from you," McMahan said.
The sheriff's office said Rowland escaped from a transport van along U.S. 266 near Highway 52 east of Dewar.
"The subject somehow got out of his restraints, was able to get out of the vehicle, back here at this intersection and shed his chains and took off running," Sheriff Eddy Rice said.
Rice said he believes the escaped inmate may have had help but he doubts a deputy was involved.
Investigators found Rowland's jumpsuit and shoes, and now they think Rowland is going to have to battle the elements.
"He's gonna be in panic mode, he's gonna take the path of least resistance, he's gonna try not to be seen," Rice said. "We'll find him or another officer will find him as well, he will be in custody. I can promise you that. It's a matter of time."
McClain County Sheriff Don Hewett said one of his transport deputies went to Muskogee to pick up Rowland for a court appearance. He said the van was stopped at a stop sign when Rowland was able to get our of his handcuffs, kick open the back door and escape.
The Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office said Rowland should be considered armed and dangerous.
The Tulsa Police helicopter has assisted in the search. Authorities are also using K-9 teams to search the area where the inmate is believed to be hiding.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office at 918-756-4311.
The search prompted a lockdown of Morris Public Schools. The school posted an announcement on their Facebook page shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The district said parents can pickup up students at any time, but said "Bus riders, walkers, and those who drive to school will not be released until the situation is resolved."
In the meantime, McMahan and her son aren't taking any chances.
She said along with a a guard dog, her son is standing by to make sure she's safe tonight.