Escapee from Newport News prison farm caught

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by Velma Scaife, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on September 7, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 7 at 3:51 PM

Newport News City Prison Farm

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NEWPORT NEWS-After more than eight hours on the run, a man who escaped from the Newport News prison farm is back in custody.

Officials tell WVEC.com that 24-year-old Eric S. Fling was last seen at 5:40 a.m. Friday in his barracks but didn't show up for breakfast at 6:00 a.m.

He was caught around 2:30 p.m. when two maintenance men from Meridian Parkside Apartments in Newport News chased him and a police officer on Hampton Roads Center Parkway arrested him.

The complex is adjacent to Sandy Bottom Park in Hampton, where police had been searching since about midday.  An officer had spotted a suspicious car on Hampton Roads Center Parkway and the man inside got out and ran when the officer approached.

The entrance to Sandy Bottom Park was blocked off as police searched the area and two schools were briefly on lockdown.

Newport News City spokeswoman Kim Lee says inmates have to walk through an outdoor, fenced courtyard to get to the mess hall.

Another inmate notified authorities that Fling was gone, so the prison was locked down and searched.

"He was wearing, at 5:40 a.m., a white jumpsuit, but it was found in a portajohn in the court yard," Lee explained.

She said officials believe Lee had on the jail-issued white T-shirt and blue pants and made his way over the 10-12-foot fence that is topped with barbed wire.

Brad Forbes said police stopped him during his morning jog  to see if he'd seen Fling.

"I saw nine or ten cops cars all around. They did a phenomenal jog in terms of trying to follow the guy and keep everyone safe," he said.

Fling, who lives in Hampton, arrived at the city farm on June 13 and was serving a 10-month sentence for probation violation related to a burglary, Lee noted.

The City Farm is a minimum security facility that can hold 250 prisoners and 140 were there at the time of his escape.

It's the second escape from the City Farm this year. Curtis Cordle got free in early February but turned himself later in that night.

"We will certainly review the incident and our policies and procedures to see if any changes should be made to try to prevent this from happening in the future," Lee told WVEC.com.

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