• 79°

Roundup suspect escapes

The only suspect to give law enforcement trouble when he was arrested during a Sheriff’s Department drug roundup escaped through an unlocked transport van back door.

After his team had stopped by their last suspect’s home Sheriff David Allison received a call a shortly after 7 a.m. that a motorist had seen a man climb out the back of a transport van and head into the woods.

This was the start of a more than two-hour search for a suspect arrested during Operation Taking Our County Back.

Allison called his two transport vans and asked for a head count. The head count confirmed that one of the nine suspects, Caleb Jackson, in one of the transport vans was missing.

“They did not realize it until we told them he was missing,” Allison said.

Transport vans were stationed in the county to hold and move suspects gathered in the operation. The transport officer in the van stationed at Claiborne Hill told Allison that as they left their location suspects in the van began making a loud racket.

When they stopped at the intersection of Mississippi 43 North and Cooper Road, Jackson either climbed under or over the rear seat he was in and unlatched the rear door. After climbing out of the van, wearing only boxers and one sock, he ran off into the woods, the witness reported.

Apparently when Jackson left the vehicle he did not slam the rear door back into place, instead he pushed it back gently.

All available units converged on Jackson’s last known location at that intersection but did not spot him.

Allison said a Lamar County deputy, who came out to help with the roundup spotted Jackson sitting by the bed of Hobolochitto Creek during the search.

He and another law officer drew their guns to prepare to cross the waist deep water. As they came up on the bank, Jackson spotted them and made a break for it.

“He’s ran from the law several times before,” Allison said.

Jackson, 21, is described as a white male five-feet six-inches tall, 145 pounds with blonde-brown hair and hazel eyes. He resides in the Nicholson area at 162 Eloise St.

The search was then moved to the creek at the bridge on Interstate 59. Units and a privately owned helicopter scoured the area, but did not spot Jackson again.

When Jackson was taken into custody early Wednesday morning before being placed in the van, he was found in his bed cuddled up with a half-pound of marijuana, Allison said. He was described to have been holding the marijuana like a Teddy bear. When officers went to take him into custody, he put up a fight, prompting officers wrestle him into custody.

“Out of all of the (suspects), he was the most rowdy,” Allison said.

At press time Jackson has not been apprehended, but investigators and deputies are still on the look out. Investigator Lt. Donnie Saucier said Jackson is wanted for sale of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and escape.

The rear door of the van from which he escaped appeared to have been malfunctioning, since people inside the van are not supposed to be able to open the door. Allison said he instructed his staff to double check all the latches on all the doors to ensure this will not happen again. He also will send his corrections officers to educational classes to prepare them to avoid such situations.

Allison said he would like to thank Scott and Bradley Holliday for doing the air search with the private helicopter and the Picayune Police Department, Lamar County Sheriff’s Department, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshalls and MBN for assisting in the search.