NORMAN, Okla. – Following a six-hour manhunt, two McClain County inmates who escaped from a work release program in Purcell were back in police custody Monday afternoon in Norman.
Authorities said 27-year-old Taylor Daniel Brotherton and 21-year-old Chase Clemons were cleaning stalls and picking up trash at the McClain County Expo Center when they decided to steal a county pickup truck around 9:30 a.m.
McClain County Sheriff Don Hewett said authorities pursued the vehicle northbound on I-35 until the fugitives exited Lindsey Street in Norman and crashed into a residential backyard fence, just east of 24th Ave SW.
Clemons was arrested at the crash scene, however, Hewett said Brotherton took off on foot.
Several schools in the area were put on lock down.
“Like, I’m still shaking now,” said Laura Incarnato, whose 7th grade son was part of a lock down at Alcott Middle School. “My hands are still shaking. It’s scary. Of course, you think of all school shootings and tragedies that happened in the past so it automatically comes to mind. I’m thinking of dropping my son off this morning. Did I tell him I love him?”
Just before 3:30 p.m., police spotted Brotherton in the Blue Jay Mobile Village near 24th Ave SW and Brooks.
Norman Police Sgt. Jennifer Newell said Brotherton was found hiding under a mobile home.
More than 50 officers from several area agencies were involved in the search.
A Norman officer used a K-9 to arrest Brotherton without incident. He was not armed as previously suspected.
Sheriff Hewett said Brotherton and Clemons were trusted to clean the Expo Center because they had low bonds and were not convicted of any violent crimes. He said both were jailed on drug possession charges.
“We’ve had this program for over a year,” Hewett said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had any problems like this.”