HEARING: Prisoner spent night after escape taunting officers and fighting with jail staff.
DANIEL JACKSON The News Herald
An escapee who threatened to fight arresting officers Thursday night was still too riled up to attend his bond hearing Friday morning.
Tracy Lashawn Collier, who escaped from Bay County Courthouse Thursday afternoon, was taunting officers as they returned him to a cell Thursday night, and was still fighting staff the next morning. Court records stated that he was uncooperative and did not show up for first appearance.
Collier was arrested and charged with escape after he eluded correction officers who were guarding him in the law library on the third floor.
An investigation of the escape is ongoing, but the Bay County Sheriff's Office reported that Collier was allowed to go to the restroom unattended. He got out of his leg irons and orange jump suit and left out a service entrance wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
"It's beyond me how he got out with two guards watching him, but he did," Lt. Greg Peel said. "There's a stairwell near the bathroom, but we don't know how he did it yet."
Later that evening, deputies caught Collier at his mother's house with his bags packed to leave town, Peel said.
"A vehicle pulled up to pick him up. He came outside and we got him," Peel said. "He had gone to his momma's house to get his clothes, and had already packed his bags."
Peel said officers Joe Smiley and Gary Dorman were watching the house for two hours waiting for Collier to arrive, but he was already inside the entire time.
"(Smiley and Dorman) were sitting on a propane tank looking through a hole in the privacy fence the size of a 50-cent piece," Peel said. "They were sweating and letting the mosquitoes eat them up.
"I said, 'Usually on a stakeout we sit in the car where there's air conditioning,"' Peel said. "But Smiley looked up at me and said, 'There's gonna be one chance to get him, and I'm gonna be ready.' And he was."
Witnesses reported seeing two women with Collier when he escaped from the courthouse. Peel confirmed the report, but said no one has been arrested for helping Collier escape.