Inmate flees jail on foot, apprehended 3 hours later during routine traffic stop

At 7:50 p.m. Tuesday night, Matthew Watkins, an inmate in the McCulloch County Jail, escaped from custody when he was being transferred to an unsecured portion of the facility to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. According to McCulloch County Sheriff Earl Howell, who provided details of the event to the Brady Standard-Herald Wednesday afternoon, whenever an AA meeting or church function is held at the jail, such programs are conducted in a location not originally designed for secure holdings. Current conditions and overcrowding at the jail necessitate that such unsecured areas be utilized from time to time. Howell added that when the jailer was bringing the inmates to the designated AA meeting area, Watkins fled through the front door and eluded police officers until just before midnight. He was apprehended on a routine traffic stop by officer Lupe Carricales with the Brady Police Department at 11:24 p.m. when the driver of the car in which he was riding ran a stop sign and was pulled over. Watkins was returned to the McCulloch County Jail and Wednesday afternoon was charged with escape, a third-degree felony which carries a sentence of up to 10 years. Watkins was in jail awaiting transport to the Texas Department of Corrections. He was convicted on seven counts of burglary earlier this month and sentenced to four years. Sheriff Howell credits the successful outcome to the combined efforts of five area law enforcement agencies. Assisting the McCulloch County Sheriff’s Department were the Brady Police Department, two officers from the Eden Police Department, a constable from Concho County and Texas Ranger Matt Andrews. “I would like to thank everyone who helped us apprehend this inmate, especially the Brady Police Department which had probably every available officer involved in the search. It was an excellent example of teamwork between all law enforcement offices involved. “We try to treat these inmates like they’re decent human beings when they’re in jail, but when they do something to violate that trust, we try to take care of the problem as soon as possible,” Howell said Thursday. “He was sent to Huntsville this morning but will have to be bench-warranted back for the recent escape charge.”

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