Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 30, 2013

Teen escapees captured on Thursday

Juvenile center to examine transport procedures after incident

By Mike Fletcher Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — After receiving a tip they were near a north side home, police located two teens who are accused of escaping custody by attacking their guards.

The escapees were found just before 11 a.m. Thursday.

Police say the teens, ages 15 and 16, stabbed two transport officers with a pencil and escaped from a transport van Wednesday evening on West Markland Avenue.

After being on the loose overnight, Kokomo police received a tip just before 11 a.m. Thursday that the juveniles were in the area of North Jay and North Locke streets.

Kokomo police quickly responded and took the juveniles in custody, Maj. Brian Seldon of the Kokomo Police Department said. One of the teens tried to flee officers and was captured shortly after.

The teens now face felony escape, aggravated battery, resisting law enforcement and burglary charges for allegedly breaking into a home on North Jay Street, Capt. Greg Hargrove of the Howard County Sheriff’s Department said.

At the time of the escape, the teens were being transported from a Warren County foster care facility to the Robert J. Kinsey Youth Center, said Jeff Lipinski, the director of the Kinsey Center.

Hargrove said the teens unbuckled their seat belts and stabbed one officer in the cheek with a pencil and another in the chest. Both of the transport officers were treated and released with minor injuries.

After a brief struggle, the van crashed into a tree and the teens fled.

The teens were not handcuffed or shackled since they had not committed any crimes prior to the escape, Lipinski said.

“In my 20-plus years at Kinsey, this is our first incident of this magnitude,” said Lipinski.

“It was pretty intense.”

The teens are being housed in Kinsey’s secure detention center and could be charged as adults pending the outcome of the investigation, Lipinski said.

The incident has prompted Lipinski to re-evaluate the youth center’s procedures in dealing with transports.

“Our staff followed the proper procedures and we’re constantly reviewing those procedures,” Lipinski said.

“In the adult system, the transport vans have a shield between the driver and prisoners,” he said. “We’re potentially looking to get something like that in the near future.”