Associated Press Published

Inmate Escapes Police Van Along West Virginia Turnpike

West Virginia Turnpike

Authorities are searching for an inmate who escaped from a police transport van along the West Virginia Turnpike and then allegedly stole a car.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler says in a news release that 37-year-old Paul Ira Hopkins of Smithers was handcuffed and wearing ankle shackles when he got the van’s door open and jumped over a guardrail Wednesday near the North Beckley Toll Plaza.

Kessler says a transport officer was unable to pursue Hopkins because he was required to secure four other inmates in the van.

The release says police tracked Hopkins to a garage where he allegedly stole a car. He was wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit.

Hopkins was being transported after being sentenced to six months for petit larceny and fleeing from an officer.