Skip to main content

St. Louis police searching for jail escapee

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • One of two escapees taken into custody with a second broken leg
  • David White, 33, was captured about five miles away
  • Police were using dogs to find the second man
  • The justice facility is across the street from police headquarters

(CNN) -- One of two men who escaped the St. Louis Justice Center's infirmary early Friday has been taken back into custody, police said.

David White, 33, was captured about five miles away, a police spokeswoman said. He had been initially taken to the facility for treatment of a broken leg, she said. "It appears that, when he was escaping this morning, he broke the other leg." He was taken to an area hospital, she said.

Police were using dogs to find Vernon Collins, 34, who remained at large.

Their break occurred at about 6 a.m., when Collins and White removed their corrections jumpsuits, pushed their bunk bed to the wall, propped it up, climbed to the ceiling and gained access to a window, which they broke, said Gene Stubblefield, commissioner for corrections.

Clad in white T-shirts, shorts and white tennis shoes, they climbed down bedsheets to make their getaway, he said.

A preliminary investigation is focusing on a corrections officer, Stubblefield said. "We had an individual on duty this morning and that individual had the opportunity to actually eliminate any opportunity to compromise the security of the facility and failed to act on that," he said.

"We have some very good procedures -- when they're followed."

Police Capt. Sam Dodson said police were casting a wide net. "Any conspicuous hiding spot, we're looking at right now," he said.

Collins was being held on first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, first-degree assault, resisting arrest and disarming a peace or correctional officer, said police spokeswoman Katie O'Sullivan.

White was held on first-degree burglary, second-degree domestic assault, unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree property damage.

The facility from which they escaped is located across from the St. Louis Police Headquarters and near the federal courthouse.