Escapees from Swanson caught hours later in Olla

Two escapees from the Swanson Correctional Center for youth in Monroe were captured in Olla just hours after their escape late Sunday night, according to LaSalle Parish Sheriff Scott Franklin.

Sometimes after 10 p.m. Sunday night, three juveniles escaped from custody at Swanson. One was caught at the facility, and the other two took a Swanson maintenance truck and fled Monroe.

Shortly after midnight, the two escapees came through Columbia at a speed of about 85 miles per hour and Caldwell law enforcement officers gave pursuit. LaSalle Parish authorities were notified.

Sheriff Franklin said the LPSO along with the Olla Police Department set up spike strips on U.S. 165 near the Standard Woodyard road. At about 1 p.m., the truck running around 100 mph hit the spikes, which deflated the left front tire of the vehicle.

Somewhere around the old highway barn in Olla, the tire came off the rim and the truck left the road and hit the ditch. One of the escapees was apprehended at the scene and the other fled on foot. And the search was on.

Arriving at the scene to assist the LPSO and Olla Police were officers from the Winn Parish Chase Team, Probation and Parole, Swanson Correctional Center, Winn and Caldwell Parish Sheriff Offices, National Guard and the Louisiana State Police helicopter.

Officers searched throughout Olla looking for the escapee until almost 7 a.m. when Sheriff Franklin said officers noticed the air conditioner running in a travel trailer parked at the home of Mayor Rhonda and Sammy Elliott, just about 200 yards from where the escapee fled the scene of the wreck some six hours earlier. Consent was obtained to search the trailer.

When officers entered the trailer, they found the suspect hiding in a closet. He was taken into custody without incident at 7:15 a.m.

The final escapee was taken to the LPSO Sub-Station in Olla and held for authorities from Louisiana Department of Corrections. The first captured escapee had been turned over to authorities from Swanson Correctional Center when he was apprehended.

Olla Chief of Police John Stott expressed his thanks to all the departments and officers who assisted in the search.

“Everyone worked together as a team searching for the escapee and I want to express my thanks and thanks from the citizens of Olla for the officers’ diligent and professional work,” Stott said.

Sheriff Franklin said he was pleased that the whole incident ended without anyone getting hurt. He also commended all the officers involved in the search.