JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - After Jasper County Sheriff's Office deputies went to serve traffic warrants at an apartment in Kirbyville and found a large amount of marijuana and cash, one of the suspects arrested at the scene slipped his cuffs to the front and stole a patrol car Saturday night.
The suspect was caught a short time later after a brief chase.
Matthew Scarborough Lee was arrested and charged with four felony charges - unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, delivery of marijuana, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, and escape from custody - and outstanding traffic warrants. Collectively, his bail amount was set at $20,000.
Anthony Berger, Mitchell Davis, and Jeffery Francois were all charged with delivery of marijuana. Bail was set at $5,000 for each one of them. Jordan Tomplait was charged with possession of marijuana, and her bail was set at $5,000 as well.
According to a press release from the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, the series of events started when JCSO deputies went to a residence in the 100 block of West Drew Street in Kirbyville to serve traffic warrants on a person there.
Jasper County Sheriff Mitchell Newman said that when his deputies entered the home, they found a large amount of marijuana and cash on a table.
"One of the individuals was attempting to destroy some of the evidence when he was taken into custody," the press release stated. "Upon taking the individual into custody, the deputy located a small handgun and several thousand dollars on him."
Three of the suspects arrested at the scene were put into a patrol unit for transport, and Lee was placed into another patrol unit. Then while the deputies were in the process of collecting evidence, he was able to slip the handcuffs to the front of his body, the press release stated.
After climbing through a small partition, Lee climbed into the front seat of the patrol unit and took off, the press release stated.
Deputies chased the car for several blocks until Lee bailed out in an abandoned lot and fled on foot while still wearing the handcuffs, the press release stated. Following a brief manhunt, the JCSO deputies found Lee hiding under a home not far from where he abandoned the patrol unit.
Newman said that Lee again tried to slip his handcuffs to front as the deputies were transporting him to the Jasper County Jail.
The press release stated that a search of the home on Drew Street turned more than a pound of marijuana, a small amount of methamphetamine, several firearms, more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition, and $8,000 in cash.