Escaped trustee back in custody

By Russell Hood

The Webster Progress-Times

A jail trustee who fled Friday night in a Webster County Sheriff’s Department vehicle was back in custody the next morning.

The sheriff’s office stated it discovered about 9:30 p.m. Friday that trustee Bryan Dale James had left in a WCSD vehicle. He was used in the past in that capacity and had never given any sign of being trouble, the department said.

Chief Deputy/Jailer Jeffrey Mann said the vehicle was a Dodge pickup that was being used for trash pickup at the nearby fairgrounds for the fair that was in town. James, 35, had been working in the laundry room, which is detached from the jail, before he fled, according to Mann.

A sheriff’s office release issued about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, when James was still at large, stated he was believed to be accompanied by a female. The department reported in an update about 4 a.m. Saturday that the truck used in the escape had been located in Choctaw County (Chester community), as had the female. However, James was still at large.

The female was being brought in for questioning, according to the release, and the WCSD reported about 11:30 a.m. Saturday that James was in custody. Mann said he was located at a house on Highway 9 in Bywy in Choctaw County. Choctaw County deputies and U.S. marshals assisted in the search, according to other media outlets, which reported he was arrested after a brief showdown. Mann said James held a knife to his own throat and was threatening suicide before he was subdued.

James, who was charged with escape and grand larceny, was transported later Saturday to the Carroll-Montgomery County Regional Correctional Facility in Vaiden.

Anyone assisting James in any way could also face charges, the WCSD said in its initial release. Mann said any charges that might be brought against the female who accompanied him will be filed in Choctaw County because she was only with him in that county. Charges may also be filed against others in connection with James’ escape, Mann said.

James, whose last known address was Lebanon Road, has been arrested more than two dozen times on various misdemeanor and felony charges during the last 15 years in Webster and other counties. This year alone he has faced charges in Webster, Oktibbeha and Montgomery counties, including petit larceny and possession of stolen property.

His most recent conviction in Webster County Circuit Court came in January 2015, when he received a three-year suspended sentence and three years’ probation, with no time to serve, after pleading guilty to transfer of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

James was in the county jail awaiting an Aug. 15 hearing in Webster County Justice Court on charges of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and contempt of court for old fines.