Edmonson Voice Staff Report
After an eight hour search that spanned from 31W all the way to Roundhill, escaped inmate Craig Troutman was apprehended on Thursday, October 20, 2016 just after 4pm after escaping the Edmonson County Courthouse that morning.
Sheriff Shane Doyle discussed the game plans used to track down the escapee while he shared details of the process and conversations with Troutman.
Troutman was able to make his way into the courtroom lobby through an unlocked door as prisoners were being transferred into a holding cell. The Sheriff said no court security was present in the lobby because they weren't aware inmates were on the property before business hours.
Doyle said that deputies were dispatched around 7:30AM, and the Sheriff's Office drone was deployed. He said the thick canopy over the woods kept authorities from seeing much on the drone's camera. Edmonson County Schools were placed on "lock-in" around 8AM, meaning no one could enter or exit the building, but normal activities could take place inside.
"We were close right off the bat," Doyle said. "Troutman later told us he could hear the drone and he knew it was close so he just stayed in the woods."
Although there were several calls and tips from various parts of the county, all of which were investigated, Troutman told authorities that he never left the woods.
Doyle said that after the first trail went cold, the Sheriff's Office regrouped and began to focus on known family members that Troutman had in the county and a campsite on a remote farm location on the edge of Mammoth Cave National Park. Doyle said the campsite was discovered as Troutman's temporary home a couple of months ago when the Sheriff's Office assisted Warren County in a robbery case where Troutman was a suspect. He said the Sheriff's Office suspected that Troutman would possibly return to the site or near the park area.
The Sheriff also made a "one call" emergency notification to Edmonson County residents. If you did not receive a call, he noted to make sure you are signed up through the county's "CodeRED" Emergency Alert System, where you can receive calls, texts, or other messages on both land lines and cell phones. Click here to sign up for the free service.
He said a coordinated response to the family members' locations and the campsite were also dead ends.
He said they turned their focus back to the wooded area near the river when they were contacted by U.S. Park Rangers.
"The Park Service got a call from a motorist on the north side of Houchins Ferry Road that said a suspicious looking character with no shoes stopped them and asked them for a ride," said Doyle. "They said they told the man they couldn't help him and immediately called the Rangers. The Rangers immediately called us and they responded to the location given to them by the motorist, and there they found Troutman where he was apprehended and detained."
Sheriff Doyle said deputies arrived, arrested, and took custody of the man. Doyle said as Troutman was being processed, he asked him his plan.
"He told me that he was an impulsive guy and that if he could just get to Alaska and never break the law again, he might be able to start a family."
Doyle also said that since Troutman was completely dry, the only possible way he could have crossed the river was by walking across the Lock 6 Dam. Low water levels in the river have caused the top of the dam to be exposed and dry. There is no longer a working ferry at Houchins Ferry.
Troutman was immediately taken back to the courthouse to stand before the judge for final sentencing in a felony theft case, the exact reason he was brought to the courthouse at 7:30am earlier that day.
"I always ask anyone that's in custody if they feel like they were treated fairly by our deputies, and I asked Troutman the same," Doyle said. "He assured me he was treated fairly, even though he said he figured he'd get tazed in the face."
In addition to the current felony theft charges he faced, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years total, Troutman was charged with Escape-First Degree, Fleeing or Evading Police-First Degree On Foot, and Burglary-3rd Degree.
He now faces an additional 20 years in prison for the new charges from the escape.
Doyle said he appreciates the cooperation he received from the public as well as the school system.
"It was a hectic day but in the end, we had a positive outcome. We appreciate the help we received from our school system and that our local administrators and teachers helped make the inconvenience of a lock-out go as smoothly as possible. Because of their quick reaction, our kids were never in danger."
Doyle also had some advice for anyone else that ends up in jail.
"Don't try to escape. You won't get very far, and you'll only end up in far worse shape."