‘Dangerous' inmate broke through 2 walls to escape, authorities say

LAMAR COUNTY, Ga. (CBS NEWS) — Police are looking for an inmate who escaped the Lamar County jail just after midnight Wednesday morning, reports CBS Columbia, South Carolina affiliate WLTX-TV. Lamar County authorities say Christopher Nicholas Carroll used a metal rod to burst through two walls of a solitary confinement cell.

Sheriff Brad White says Carroll then used an access door to escape the building before going through a fence and leaving the property, working his way through some very tight spots in the process.

White said Carroll also stole a county work van at around 1:30 a.m. The van had a GPS tracker in it so, once authorities realized it was gone, they were able to track the van to Olar, South Carolina, around 7 a.m. about four miles from Carroll's mother's home, according to White.

He said South Carolina State Patrol converged on the van within 20 minutes of it being dumped, bult Carroll wasn't inside.

White said South Carolina authorities are "very familiar with him."

"They're getting leads and tips in as we speak," he said.

It's a search involving several law enforcement agencies. Hampton County Sheriff Thomas Smalls said his team is helping with K9s and additional manpower. He said they're making good progress.

"We're very close," Smalls said.

Carroll was being held in Lamar County after being arrested on Oct. 30 when he was found driving a vehicle that had been stolen in South Carolina.

According to White, he fought officers during his arrest and even tried to take one of the officers' weapons. He was charged with three counts of obstruction because of that and sentenced to five years in prison. This was in addition to the charges he faced in South Carolina.

Carroll didn't know this, but he was scheduled to be transferred to prison on Thursday.

He was last seen wearing an orange jumpsuit. He is described as a white man, 5'9, and 165 pounds. White said Carroll didn't have shoes when he escaped.

While White said he would consider Carroll dangerous, it wasn't known if he is armed.

As for how he was able to escape, White said it was determination and possibly luck.

"I don't know how to explain it. … He just got lucky," he said.

White said authorities are going to review both their policies and infrastructure to possibly prevent something like this from happening again.

He also said Carroll could have gotten help from other inmates and said he's not sure how much planning could have taken place. Carroll was only in the solitary confinement cell for six days.

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